A senior Chinese official says the United States should meet one-on-one with North Korea to help revive stalled six-party talks on the North's nuclear program.

The official China Daily newspaper quotes Yang Xiyu today (Saturday) as saying that Washington should agree to hold bilateral talks with Pyongyang, in order "to restart negotiations and make progress." Mr. Yang is director of the Chinese Foreign Ministry's office for Korean Peninsula Issues.

Another endorsement for direct U.S.-North Korean contacts came today from He Yafei, head of the (Chinese) Foreign Ministry's department of North American and Oceania affairs. Mr. He told the newspaper The Australian that both the United States and North Korea should be more flexible in their attitude toward talks.

Washington has rejected bilateral talks with North Korea, saying the threat posed by Pyongyang's nuclear program is a regional problem that requires a multinational settlement.