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U.S. Envoy Visits Far East After Kim Jong Il's Death

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Kurt Campbell
The United States' top diplomat for Asia has arrived in China on a tour that will also take him to South Korea and Japan to discuss developments in North Korea after the death of Kim Jong Il.

Kurt Campbell, the assistant secretary of state for East Asia and the Pacific started his visit to the region on January 3 for discussions on how to restart nuclear and food aid talks with North Korea.

Campbell is the most senior U.S. official to visit the area since Kim's death and succession by his youngest son, Kim Jong Un.

North Korea has said it wants to return to long-stalled six-nation talks on halting its nuclear weapons program in return for aid.

Washington and Seoul, however, have insisted that the North first show progress on past disarmament commitments.

The disarmament talks involve the two Koreas, the United States, China, Russia and Japan.

compiled from agency reports