A top North Korean diplomat said that Pyongyang would be willing to meet with the Trump administration for negotiations "if the conditions are set."
Choe Son Hui, director general for North American Affairs at the Foreign Ministry, spoke briefly to reporters in Beijing yesterday en route to Pyongyang. She was travelling from Norway, where she led a delegation that held an informal meeting with former US officials and scholars.
Choe did not elaborate on what the North's conditions are, but her comments raise the possibility of North Korea and the US returning to negotiations for the first time since 2008, when six-nation talks over Pyongyang's nuclear weapons program fell apart.
President Donald Trump opened the door this month to talks, saying he would be "honoured" to meet North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
Tensions have mounted in recent months after the Trump administration said it would keep "all options on the table" to halt North Korea's nuclear weapons program, including a military strike. The North responded by pledging to retaliate with a devastating nuclear counterattack, a threat it has made in the past.
In recent weeks, North Korea has arrested two American university instructors and laid out what it claimed to be a CIA-backed plot to assassinate Kim. Choe did not address the matter of the detained Americans yesterday.
In Norway, Choe met with former US officials and scholars for what are known as "track 2" talks. The talks, which cover a range of nuclear, security and bilateral issues, are held intermittently, and are an informal opportunity for the two sides to exchange opinions and concerns.
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