U.S.President Barack Obama says his envoy on North Korea will travel to the communist country early next month for the first bi-lateral talks with the regime since he took office.

Mr. Obama said on Thursday at a joint news conference in Seoul with South Korean President Lee Myung-bak that Ambassador Stephen Bosworth will go to Pyongyang on Dec. 8.

North Korea has been pushing for bi-lateral talks with Washington to discuss the standoff over Pyongyang's nuclear programme.

The U.S. has agreed to the talks but has stressed they must lead to the resumption of six-nation disarmament negotiations.

North Korea conducted a nuclear test and test-fired a series of missiles earlier this year.

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