A flurry of diplomatic activity by North Korea is changing the landscape of the six-party nuclear talks.
The multilateral dialogue, consisting of the two Koreas, the United States, China, Japan and Russia, has been stalled since December 2008.
However, North Korea has recently agreed with Japan to open a reinvestigation into the fate of Japanese citizens abducted by the North in the 1970s and 80s.
In return, Tokyo promised to lift its individual sanctions on Pyongyang, which could reduce the regime's economic dependence on Beijing.
China, as the chair of the six-party talks and North Korea's biggest economic benefactor, plays a key role in efforts to bring the North back to the negotiating table.
Russia has also been moving rapidly to cozy up with North Korea in response to the West's sanctions stemming from the Ukraine crisis.
For Pyongyang, this relationship means another opportunity to gain leverage over its dependence on China
And experts say it opens up a chance for dialogue.
"Russia and North Korea's mending ties are an appropriate step toward the resumption of dialogue because Moscow could convince Pyongyang to return to the six-party talks."
And while some experts doubt the validity of the six-party format as a solution to North Korea's nuclear ambitions, most agree that having some form of communication with the communist state is much better than having no communication at all.
Hwang Sung-hee, Arirang News.