In an interview with Seoul-based Yonhap News Agency Wednesday, Joel Wit, who sat down with North Korea's top nuclear envoy Ri Yong-ho at a seminar last month in Berlin, said North Korea will not accept preconditions for dialogue, but it is willing to take confidence-building steps in the weapons of mass destruction area.
This, he said, includes measures to adopt a moratorium.
Declaring a moratorium on nuclear weapons and long-range ballistic missile testing was part of the Leap Day deal signed last year by Washington and Pyongyang.
The U.S. expert, who now serves as a senior fellow at the U.S.-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins University, said North Korea is seeking a muti-stage process.
This means holding negotiations on a string of issues like politics and economy with the ultimate goal of denuclearization.
Wit added that Washington and Pyongyang will be able to negotiate further measures once they meet face-to-face for talks.
The two sides have long been arguing over what should come first - dialogue or a firm commitment on denuclearization by Pyongyang.
Addressing the UN General Assembly First Committee on Wednesday, Rose Gottenmoeller, Washington's acting under secretary of state for arms control and international security reiterated the Obama administration's stance on dialogue.
She said the U.S. is ready to talk, to listen and to work hard, but stressed the North must meet its own denuclearization commitments for an opportunity to reintegrate into the international community.
Hwang Sung-hee, Arirang News.