North Korean Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son Hui said the two countries “agreed to hold a working-level discussion on October 5th, following a preliminary contact on the 4th,” according to a statement carried by North Korea’s state-run Korean Central News Agency.
State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus later told reporters that officials from the two countries plan to meet “within the next week.”
“I expect the working-level talks to accelerate positive developments in DPRK-U.S. relations,” Choe said, using the initials of her country’s official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. “Our representatives are ready to attend the working-level talks with the United States.”
hoe’s statement did not say where the talks would take place.
Negotiations between the two countries’ diplomats have been frozen since the breakdown of a summit between Trump and Kim in Hanoi in February.
Meanwhile, North Korea has conducted short-range ballistic missile tests, while complaining bitterly about joint military exercises carried out by the United States and South Korea.
On Monday, North Korea blamed the stalling of the dialogue on Washington and Seoul, accusing them of failing to keep their promises.
North Korean Ambassador Kim Song told the U.N. General Assembly that it was up to the United States whether negotiations “will become a window of opportunity or an occasion that will hasten the crisis.”
“The situation on the Korean Peninsula has not come out of the vicious cycle of increased tension, which is entirely attributable to the political and military provocations perpetrated by the U.S.,” the ambassador said.
Indeed, the North Korean Foreign Ministry also said last week that Trump is “different from his predecessors in political sense and decision” and that it hoped he would make good decision.
Experts said Pyongyang saw a potential window of opportunity for progress under Trump.
“As this year draws to an end, Kim Jong Un is trying to speed up the nuclear talks,” said Yang Moo-jin, a professor at the University of North Korean Studies in Seoul.
Donald Trump administration likes to say that all is going well with its effort to rid North Korea of its nuclear weapons.