U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says Washington wants to engage diplomatically with North Korea, but only if its leaders change course and "put their people first."
She spoke Friday at annual bilateral talks in Beijing.
Clinton said that if Pyongyang focuses on feeding and educating it citizens and "rejoining the international community," the United States will "welcome them and work with them."
The secretary also praised the role of China - the isolated and impoverished North's main ally. She pledged that the two superpowers would work to convince Pyongyang to abandon provocative policies.
The United States and North Korea reached an agreement in February under which the North had agreed to suspend its nuclear weapons and missile programs, in exchange for food aid. Washington scrapped the deal after North Korea launched a rocket last month. Pyongyang said the launch was to place a weather satellite into orbit, but the Obama administration argued it was a test of a long-range ballistic missile.
The rocket failed shortly after launch.
Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.