The US and North Korea are holding direct talks in Geneva over restarting stalled nuclear negotiations.
It is the second such meeting between the two sides in under three months.
Six-party discussions involving North and South Korea, China, Russia, Japan and the US broke down in April 2009 when North Korea walked out.
A month later, North Korea tested its second nuclear weapon, which was followed by increased tension on the Korean peninsula.
"We had initial presentations of our respective positions, and I think these were useful presentations," Clifford Hart, the US special envoy, told reporters in Geneva.
Although both sides say they want the six-party negotiations on North Korea's nuclear programme to resume, they disagree on the terms, says the BBC's Imogen Foulkes in Geneva.
North Korea has suggested they restart without preconditions while the United States wants a firm commitment from Pyongyang to disarm first.
But the fact these talks are taking place at all is a sign of improved relations since the dark days of 2009, when North Korea tested its second nuclear weapon, and 2010, when North Korean attacks along its disputed border with the South killed 50 South Koreans, our correspondent says.
US officials say the two-day talks are aimed at keeping North Korea engaged in discussions, but fall short of formal negotiations.
Washington and Pyongyang have just agreed to resume searching for the remains of American soldiers killed in the Korean war of the 1950s, and in July, the foreign ministers of North and South Korea met for the first time in three years.
So although it seems unlikely there will be a swift resumption of the six-party negotiations, the talks in Geneva are being viewed as another positive step, our correspondent says.
At the very least, it is suggested, they may encourage North Korea not to proceed with a rumoured third nuclear test, she adds.
The US wants North Korea to adhere to a 2005 agreement it later reneged on - requiring it to give up its nuclear activities in return for security guarantees, aid and better relations.
Please login to add to favorites
Already added to favorites
Added as Favorite