North Korea says it would welcome outside mediation to persuade the United States to resume talks, but Pyongyang says it will not accept any pre-conditions for a dialogue.
The North Korean ambassador to China, Choe Jin-su, told reporters in Beijing Friday his government does not believe President Bush's statements that the United States wants peace. Mr. Choe said the United States should give North Korea a security guarantee if it really wants to settle the nuclear issue.
North Korea has repeatedly called for Washington to sign a non-aggression treaty.
In the U-S capital Friday, a senior Bush administration official said non-aggression is not the issue. He said the issue is whether North Korea will abandon its nuclear ambitions.
Ambassador Choe's comments came as official Chinese media urged common sense from both sides in the escalating dispute.
And in South Korea, a top aide to President-elect Roh Moo-hyun said Mr. Roh is preparing a plan to settle the North Korean nuclear crisis. The aide gave no details, but he said the plan will call on both the North and the United States to make concessions.
The U-S Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian Affairs, James Kelly, meets with South Korean and Japanese officials in Washington next week on the North Korean crisis. Mr. Kelly also is traveling to Seoul later this month for talks with President-elect Roh.