Secretary of State Colin Powell travels to East Asia next week for talks that include efforts to help restart six-nation talks on North Korea's nuclear weapons program.
Officials in Washington Saturday, said Mr. Powell's visit to Japan, China and South Korea will focus on regional security, terrorism, Iraq and North Korea.
Pyongyang has refused to attend a new round of the six-party talks, citing what it called Washington's "hostile policy" toward North Korea. Officials say Mr. Powell will be exploring opportunities to get the isolated Communist nation to return to the negotiating table.
North Korea has insisted Washington join it in bilateral talks, but President Bush has refused. The six-party talks bring together North and South Korea, the United States, Russia, Japan and China. They have produced little progress so far.