South Korea says a senior Chinese official will visit North Korea to try to persuade the Stalinist state to return to nuclear talks.

South Korean Unification Minister Chung Dong-young said Friday, the Chinese official plans to visit the North some time after next week's Lunar New Year holiday. Mr. Chung did not identify the communist official.

The minister also says South Korean Foreign Minister Ban Ki-moon will visit Washington February 14 the discuss the talks with U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

The two Koreas, the United States, China, Japan and Russia have held three rounds of talks aimed at dismantling the North's nuclear weapons program.

Pyongyang has said it will assess President Bush's policy towards it in his second term before agreeing to further talks.

Some information for this report provided by AP and Reuters.