North Korea called for an end of hostile relations with the United States in a New Year's message and said it was committed to making the Korean peninsula nuclear-free through negotiations.
At the same time, a Tokyo-based pro-North Korean newspaper indicated that the leaders of North and South Korea could hold a summit this year, citing Pyongyang's strong commitment to improve relations with Seoul.
Communist North Korea has long demanded that Washington end hostility toward its government, and said it developed nuclear weapons to deter a US attack. Washington has repeatedly said it has no intention of invading the country.
The New Year statement brightened prospects for North Korea to rejoin stalled international talks on ending its nuclear weapons programs in exchange for aid and other concessions. Washington has sought to coax it to return to the talks, which also include South Korea, China, Russia and Japan.