South Korean President Park Geun Hye on Friday called for multilateral talks to resolve the nuclear dispute with North Korea, but without the communist state's involvement.
In the wake of North Korea's recent nuclear test, Park said possible talks could take place with the United States, China, Russia and Japan.
At a meeting of ministers, Park expressed doubts about the effectiveness of the so-called six-party talks, involving North Korea, which have now stalled.
"We should look for various and creative approaches, including attempting to hold five-way talks excluding North Korea," she said.
Her suggestion is an attempt to increase the pressure on Pyongyang, which also faces a tightening of sanctions because of the nuclear test.
"If the five countries work together, they will be able to deliver a very strong message to North Korea," South Korea's Foreign Minister Yun Byung Se told reporters.
North Korea claims to have exploded a hydrogen bomb on January 6, but Western experts say evidence suggests it was more likely to have been a conventional atom bomb. An H-bomb has a higher explosive force.