U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice says she will make it clear in a meeting with North Korea that it must meet its obligations and answer questions about its nuclear program.

During a flight to the Middle East Monday, Rice told reporters that the meeting this week with North Korean Foreign Minister Pak Ui-chun on the sidelines of a regional, ASEAN, conference in Singapore would be informal.

She said she would not call the talks historic, monumental or even consequential. The meeting, which will include the four other countries involved in North Korean denuclearization talks: Japan, South Korea, Russia and China, will be the highest-level gathering of the six parties since talks began in 2003.

Rice and her North Korean counterpart, Pak, will see each other for the first time.

The U.S. State Department says says there are no plans for a separate meeting between the two diplomats during Rice's stay in Singapore on Wednesday and Thursday.

The State Department also says the meeting will not replace an anticipated formal ministerial-level conference.

The high-level meeting of the six parties comes in the wake of North Korea's long-delayed declaration of its nuclear activities.  

During talks held earlier this month, Pyongyang agreed to disable its main plutonium-producing facilities by the end of October, and allow on-site inspections to verify its declaration.



Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.