As North Korea faces ongoing food shortages, the US appears closer to providing food aid amid hopes for movement on six-party nuclear talks.
US envoy Stephen Bosworth and South Korea's chief nuclear negotiator appear to be pressing for greater North-South dialogue before returning to the six-party talks.
Analysts and diplomats are scratching their heads as to why North Korea continued firing artillery shells into its disputed maritime border with the South for the second day in a row.
North Korea ratcheted up tensions with the South after firing an estimated 30 shells into the two countries' no-sail zone, which may be a precursor to the testing of short-range missiles.
US envoy Stephen Bosworth is visiting Beijing, Seoul, and Tokyo, after Pyongyang rejected six-party dialogue and threatened to test another nuclear bomb.