South Korea's chief nuclear negotiator said Tuesday he would leave for Beijing later in the day for talks with his Chinese counterpart Wu Dawei about North Korea's nuclear and missile tests.
"I plan to go to China, probably in the evening today. But the exact itinerary has yet to be fixed," Wi Sung-Lac told Yonhap news agency.
Wi said he hopes to meet Wu Wednesday for talks on a range of issues following the North's May 25 nuclear test, including moves by the UN Security Council to expand sanctions in response.
The Council's five permanent members -- Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States -- plus their counterparts from Japan and South Korea have been haggling over new measures.
UN diplomats said Friday there are differences over proposals for tougher cargo inspections and a tighter arms embargo on North Korea, as well as on additional financial penalties.
They said China was reticent about tougher sea cargo inspections to ensure ships are not carrying banned items related to North Korea's nuclear and missile activities.
A US government delegation led by Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg visited Tokyo, Seoul, and Beijing last week for talks about a response to the North's actions.
Further escalating tensions with Washington, a Pyongyang court Monday sentenced two US reporters to 12 years in a labour camp for an illegal border crossing and unspecified "grave acts."
The North fired six short-range missiles in the days after its nuclear test and is also said to be preparing to launch another long-range missile.