Kurt Campbell, the assistant secretary of state for East Asia and the Pacific, is visiting the region for discussions on how to restart nuclear and food aid talks with North Korea as well as US rapprochement with Burma (Myanmar).
Campbell is the most senior US official to visit the region since Mr. Kim's death and succession by his youngest son, Kim Jong-un.
North Korea, which has tested two atomic devices since 2006, said it wants to return to long-stalled six-nation talks on halting its nuclear weapons program in return for aid. Washington and Seoul, however, have insisted that the North first show progress on past disarmament commitments.
The disarmament talks involve the two Koreas, the United States, China, Russia, and Japan.