US envoy seeking China’s help with North Korea

South Korean army soldiers gather during their military exercise in Paju, South Korea, near the demilitarized zone (DMZ) between the two Koreas, South Korea, Friday, Jan. 17, 2014. South Korea rejected North Korea’s offer to take a series of steps to ease tension that included canceling Seoul’s regular military drills with Washington, saying Friday that Pyongyang must take nuclear disarmament steps first.(AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)
South Korean army soldiers gather during their military exercise in Paju, South Korea, near the demilitarized zone (DMZ) between the two Koreas, South Korea, Friday, Jan. 17, 2014. South Korea rejected North Korea’s offer to take a series of steps to ease tension that included canceling Seoul’s regular military drills with Washington, saying Friday that Pyongyang must take nuclear disarmament steps first.(AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. envoy for North Korea is traveling to East Asia next week on a new round of nuclear diplomacy, looking to nudge a reluctant China to step up pressure on Pyongyang to disarm.

The envoy, Glyn Davies, will start his trip Monday in China, before traveling to South Korea and Japan.

The trip comes as North Korea says it wants to improve its relations with South Korea and has agreed to resume reunions of families separated by the Korean War. But North Korea is also demanding that the U.S. and South Korea call off annual war drills.

Since Davies last visited the region in late November, North Korea’s young leader Kim Jong Un has executed his powerful uncle, who was a key figure in its relations with China.

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