The United States' top diplomat for Asia arrived Tuesday in China on a tour that will also take him to South Korea and Japan to discuss developments in North Korea after the death of Kim Jong Il.
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 U.S. rapprochement with Myanmar.
Campbell is the most senior U.S. official to visit the region since Kim's death and succession by his youngest son, Kim Jong Un.
Campbell did not make any comments at the airport after landing in Beijing on Tuesday night. He will also visit Seoul and Tokyo on his Jan. 3-7 trip.
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.