The United States and Japan have strongly urged North Korea to return to international talks concerning its nuclear weapons program.

The call came as the top U.S. and Japanese diplomats and defense officials met in Washington.

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said both nations are concerned about Pyongyang's declaration that it has atomic weapons. She said returning to the six-party talks is the only way for North Korea to end its isolation.

Earlier, Pyongyang said the time is not right for talks of any kind because of what it called Washington's hostile polices.

On another issue, the US and Japanese officials said they share a common strategic objective of easing tensions in the Taiwan Strait. China has threatened to use force against Taiwan, which Beijing views as a renegade province.