The White House says it is open to high-level talks proposed by North Korea, but only if Pyongyang lives up to its UN obligations to dismantle its nuclear weapons program.
In an e-mailed statement to Reuters, U.S. National Security Council spokesperson Caitlin Hayden said the U.S. has always favored dialogue and has open lines of communication with North Korea.
The method of communication is the so-called "New York Channel" which is an unofficial backline channel between Washington and Pyongyang in an absence of a diplomatic relationship between the two countries.
Hayden added the U.S. wants credible negotiations with North Korea but the talks should ultimately result in denuclearization.
Washington is calling on North Korea to live up to its international obligations including compliance with UN Security Council resolutions.
The South Korean government said it was taking a cautious approach to Pyongyang's proposal to Washington.
Seoul says the move looks significant but added North Korea needs to back up words with action.
North Korea's proposal came just five days after Pyongyang called off talks with South Korea.
North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency quoted a spokesman for the National Defense Commission as saying Washington should accept the offer.
"If the U.S. truly wants to ease tensions and build a world free of nuclear weapons, it should really accept our sincere proposal for talks."
Pyongyang said Washington is to decide when and where the talks are to be held.
However, Pyongyang added Washington must not lay out any preconditions for the talks.
Pyongyang explained denuclearization is also its top priority, saying it was the last wish of late North Korean leaders Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il.
The reclusive state saiddenuclearization from its perspective means ridding the Korean peninsula of nuclear weapons and ending Washington's nuclear threats against Pyongyang.
Kim Ji-yeon, Arirang News.