Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says the United States hopes for improved ties with the people of North Korea after the death of North Korean leader Kim Jong-il and is in touch with its partners in the six-party nuclear talks.
The United States and North Korea have narrowed differences in a second set of talks since wider negotiations on nuclear disarmament collapsed in 2009, but issues remain, the top US negotiator says.
Former US president Jimmy Carter has arrived in Pyongyang, where he hopes to meet North Korea's reclusive leader.
South Korean and US troops have begun annual military drills that North Korea warned could trigger a nuclear war on the divided peninsula.
North Korea said today it would not hold further military talks with South Korea, accusing Seoul of lacking serious intent to improve relations.
Military officers from North and South Korea met today to try to lay the groundwork for high-level defence talks aimed at easing hostilities on the Korean peninsula.
The prosecutor of the International Criminal Court said on Tuesday his office is starting a preliminary examination of possible war crimes by North Korea in response to complaints from South Korean students and citizens.
South Korea's defence minister, Kim Tae-Young, was forced to resign after criticism that he was too slow to respond when North Korea attacked the island of Yeonpyeong on Tuesday last week, killing at least four people.
North Korea is a past master at the game of "nuclear chicken".
Despite the huge challenges involved, the Korean Peninsula could still become nuclear free, German peace and development researcher Prof Herbert Wulf believes.
The jury appears to be out on the exact state of mind of the North Korean dictator Kim Jong-il, variously regarded when healthy as either cunning like a fox, borderline mad or just pathologically nasty.
North Korea says it has sentenced an American man to eight years' hard labour for entering the country illegally and unspecified hostile acts.
North Korea's military has warned South Korea and the United States of "unprecedented nuclear strikes" over a report the two countries plan to prepare for possible instability in the totalitarian country.