South Korea's foreign minister says he thinks the six-party talks on North Korea's nuclear ambitions may resume in February.
Ban Ki-moon was speaking to reporters at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland Friday.
Earlier, Japan said it will hold bilateral talks with North Korea in China next week.
Japanese officials said the working-level talks will focus on Pyongyang's past abduction of Japanese nationals, normalization of diplomatic ties and North Korea's nuclear and missile programs.
The latest round of six-party talks on Pyongyang's nuclear programs has been stalled since November.
North Korea wants the United States to lift economic sanctions against Pyongyang before returning to the table. Washington has rejected the demand.
Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.