The United States said it was ready to sit down with North Korea to resume long-awaited working-level nuclear talks.
The move was announced by US envoy Stephen Biegun, the US special representative for North Korea, after his meeting with South Korean counterpart Lee Do-hoon in Seoul.
“We are prepared to engage as soon as we hear from our counterparts in North Korea,” said Biegun.
The comments come amid speculation that Americans could meet with North Koreans at the demilitarized zone dividing the North and South to kick start working-level talks during Biegun’s three-day stay in Seoul, which began Tuesday.
Nuclear discussions between Washington and Pyongyang have stalled since a second summit in Hanoi in February ended without an agreement over differences on the extent of denuclearization and a sanctions relief in return.
Anticipation for renewed dialogue has been on the rise after the US and its security ally South Korea wrapped up their two-week joint military drill on Tuesday.
The US envoy denied, meanwhile, media reports he would soon take a diplomatic posting in Russia, saying he remained “focused on making progress” with North Koreans and “fully committed” to the goal of the denuclearization in the North.