South Korean and US officials will meet here in the coming week to discuss joint strategy for six-party talks on ending North Korea's nuclear programme, a foreign ministry official said on Saturday.
Nicholas Burns, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's senior deputy, will arrive here on Monday, a day earlier than scheduled, the official said.
Burns is expected to meet with his South Korean counterpart Yu Myung-Hwan on Tuesday for talks focusing on a strategic framework at the six-party talks.
"He is likely to discuss a framework of strategy for the six-party talks here, as fine-tuning a detailed strategy is a job of Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill," the official was quoted as telling Yonhap news agency.
Burns had originally planned to visit Japan, China and South Korea in that order but the schedule was changed so that he may visit Seoul before he travels to Beijing, he said.
The official also said Robert Joseph, the hawkish head of the State Department's non-proliferation initiative, changed his schedule to include South Korea in his Asian swing in the coming week.
"Burns' tour schedule was changed, so he will visit South Korea ahead of China," the official said, "Joseph's schedule was also changed, so he can also come here."
The US has been pressing South Korea to join the Proliferation Security Initiative aimed at stopping shipments of weapons of mass destruction.
UN sanctions imposed on North Korea after its October 9 nuclear test authorise such cargo inspections.
South Korea is reluctant to play an active role, fearing naval clashes with the North with which it remains technically at war.
After a year-long boycott, Pyongyang confirmed on Wednesday it would return to the six-party talks which involve the two Koreas, China, the US, Japan and Russia.