The government has suggested to China that the resumption of six-party talks about North Korea's nuclear program could proceed alongside discussions about the North's sinking of the South Korean Navy corvette Cheonan, it emerged Friday.
Seoul had so far dug in its heels over the resumption of the talks unless the North apologized for the attack.
But some government officials expressed worries that Seoul could not stall the six-party talks indefinitely if Pyongyang and Beijing agree to give priority to them.
Foreign Ministry officials last Friday briefed Wu Dawei, the visiting Chinese chief nuclear negotiator, on Seoul's new position.
"Realistically, there is zero possibility of the North admitting its involvement in the Cheonan sinking and apologizing for it," a government official said. "But at the same time we can't just let it pass, which is what the North wants."