China's chief nuclear envoy Wu Dawei will meet his U.S. counterpart Glyn Davies in New York Monday as they seek to jump-start the long-stalled six-party nuclear talks.
During the meeting, the United States is expected to urge China to pressure North Korea to not conduct a fourth nuclear test.
The two are also expected to discuss ways to bring back the isolated nation back to the negotiating table.
Wu is expected to de-brief Davies on the results of his visit to Pyongyang last month, stepping up his efforts to resume the six-party talks.
The multilateral denuclearization dialogue involving the two Koreas, the U.S., China, Japan and Russia has been stalled since late 2008.
But with Seoul, Washington, Beijing and Tokyo engaging in a flurry of diplomatic activity last week, anticipation about a possible resumption of the talks is growing.
Ahead of his trip to Washington, the Chinese diplomat met with South Korean chief nuclear negotiator Hwang Joon-kook in Beijing.
"In reflecting on the current state of affairs on the Korean Peninsula, South Korea and China have agreed to strengthen our strategic cooperation."
The U.S. State Department said Saturday local time that the ball is in North Korea's court, adding the North must take the necessary steps to return to dialogue.
Some experts say the current confrontational state may come to an end once Seoul and Washington wrap up their annual joint military drills on April 18th.
But others warn of another round of provocations by Pyongyang ahead of U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Seoul and Tokyo at the end of this month.
Hwang Sung-hee, Arirang News.