SEOUL, South Korea – North Korea wants to send its chief nuclear envoy to President-elect Barack Obama's inauguration, reports said Monday.
Pyongyang's proposal to send Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kye Gwan to Obama's Jan. 20 inauguration was made month through its mission to the United Nations, the JoongAng Ilbo newspaper reported, citing an unidentified South Korean government official.
Washington rejected the idea, South Korea's Yonhap news agency said. South Korean officials were not immediately available Monday to confirm the reports.
Aaron Tarver, a spokesman at the U.S. Embassy in Seoul, said he had no information about any inauguration requests from Pyongyang.
The North's move, if confirmed, would be another sign the regime is eager to forge good relations with the next U.S. administration.
Pyongyang also refrained from its routine criticism of the U.S. in its New Year's Day statement in what analysts said was an overture to the incoming U.S. leader.
For years, Washington and Pyongyang have been locked in a standoff over Pyongyang's nuclear ambitions.
Six-nation talks aimed at resolving the dispute have been stalled due to the North's refusal to accept a protocol that would allow verification of its nuclear programs' list. The negotiations involve China, Japan, the two Koreas, Russia and the United States.