Seoul, Jan 05 (Agencies): A US envoy on Wednesday held talks with Seoul officials on easing tension on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang urged an early end to confrontation over its deadly attack on a South Korean island.

Stephen Bosworth, the US special envoy on North Korea, met with South Korea's chief nuclear negotiator, Wi Sung-Lac, and Foreign Minister Kim Sung-Hwan, focusing on Pyongyang's nuclear programme and tension reduction.

Bosworth's visit came six weeks after the North shelled the frontier island of Yeonpyeong, killing four South Koreans, including two civilians, and sending tensions in the region to their highest level in years.

Details of the talks were not made public but a Foreign Ministry spokesman said earlier that Bosworth and the South Korean side would "assess the current situation regarding North Korea's nuclear development and future response".

Bosworth was also scheduled to meet with Unification Minister Hyun In-Taek before heading to Beijing later on Wednesday. He is expected in Tokyo on Thursday.

Upon arrival in Seoul on Tuesday, Bosworth called for "serious negotiations" as a central strategy to deal with the communist State.

South Korean Foreign Minister Kim Sung-Hwan on Wednesday said that any resumption in the six-nation talks on ending North Korea's nuclear weapons programme should be preceded by two-way talks between North and South.

The North has refused to discuss the nuclear issue directly with the South, saying it only wants to deal with Washington.

"The six-party talks are a useful framework for negotiation on the North's denuclearisation but in order to achieve tangible progress through the talks, the right atmosphere—including bilateral talks—should be created," Kim said.

"The Government will continue pursuing both tracks—dialogue and sanctions—to press the North to prove its willingness for denuclearisation through actions," he said in a speech on the Foreign Ministry's New Year policy.

Pyongyang's ruling communist party's official daily Rodong Sinmun on Wednesday said that military tension on the Korean peninsula must come to an end "at the earliest possible date."

"Resolving political and military tensions are a prerequisite to improving inter-Korean relations and to pursuing national reconciliation and cooperation," it said in an editorial.

In Washington, State Department spokesman Philip Crowley said that dialogue with the North should be constructive. "We don't just want to have talks for talks' sake," he said.