South Korea, the U.S. and Japan are considering scaling back the pre-conditions they want met before resuming talks with North Korea over its nuclear program.
Following a meeting of the three countries' nuclear negotiators this week, a South Korean official told reporters in Washington that they're looking at a variety of ways to resume talks with Pyongyang.
The official said the three parties are looking at the conditions with a little more flexibility in mind, and that the ways in which North Korea shows sincerity about giving up its nuclear weapons program could be up for discussion.
The three nations, together with China and Russia, have been trying to denuclearize the North under the six-party framework for more than a decade.
But the six-party talks have been suspended since late 2008 because of repeated provocations by Pyongyang.
In return for U.S. food aid two years ago, North Korea agreed to suspend its missile and nuclear testing, place a moratorium on its uranium enrichment, and allow international inspectors into its nuclear facilities.
Washington and its two main Asian allies have been demanding Pyongyang take additional actions outside of the food-for-denuclearization framework before returning to negotiations.
The official, however, said there's a need for further review and discussions with China, another key six-party member.
He then said what's most important is stopping the enhancement of North Korea's nuclear and missile capabilities, and for the North to leave room for negotiations without carrying out further provocations.
Experts in Seoul, however, caution that it's too soon to jump to any conclusions about a change in Seoul's position.
Instead, they say this could merely be another message urging Pyongyang to act sincerely and return to the negotiating table.
Choi You-sun, Arirang News.