WASHINGTON, Jan. 17 (Xinhua) -- The Obama administration is sending its top envoy for East Asia to visit China, Japan, South Korea and Singapore, the State Department said on Friday.
Daniel Russel, assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs, will start his visit on Monday, the department said in a statement.
A day earlier, the department said Deputy Secretary of State William Burns will visit South Korea, China and Japan starting on Sunday.
In Beijing and Tokyo, Russel will join Burns for meetings with senior government officials. "In Beijing, he will also separately lead the Asia-Pacific Consultations and other bilateral meetings with Chinese counterparts," the department said.
It said Russel will have consultations on "a range of bilateral and regional issues" in Seoul, and attend a U.S.-Singapore strategic partnership dialogue in Singapore.
Territorial disputes and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's visit last month to the controversial Yasukuni shrine that honors Japan's war dead, including 14 Class-A war criminals from World War II, are roiling relations among China, Japan and South Korea, two U.S. treaty allies.
On Thursday, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) called for ending hostilities between the two sides of the Korean Peninsula.
In a statement released by its National Defense Commission (NDC), the DPRK made a three-point proposal to South Korea, calling for practical measures to halt "all acts of provoking and slandering the other side" and "all hostile military acts."
The NDC urged South Korea to cancel its joint military exercises with the United States, including the computer-simulated "Key Resolve" command post exercise and the "Foal Eagle" field training exercise scheduled from late February to April.
South Korea expressed regrets over the DPRK's fresh appeal Friday, urging Pyongyang to take "real action" to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula.
The United States on Thursday also dismissed the DPRK's proposal, saying its "core policy" on the country remains unchanged.
At a regular press briefing on Friday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei called on DPRK and South Korea to show goodwill and take substantial measures to improve bilateral relations.
"It conforms to the two sides' fundamental interests to improve bilateral relations and realize reconciliation and cooperation, as they belong to the same nation," Hong said.