The hostilities between the Koreas have further put off hopes of a new round of international negotiations on ending North Korea's nuclear programs.
Talks between the rivals would be a good step in that direction, though Seoul, Washington and Tokyo have insisted that the North prove it is serious about giving up its atomic ambitions before they will allow a new round of aid-for-disarmament negotiations.
U.S. Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg held talks with Foreign Minister Kim Sung-hwan on Wednesday.
Steinberg called on the North to demonstrate that it's sincerely prepared to reject violence and to engage in meaningful dialogue on its nuclear programs.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.