North Korean leader Kim Jong Il told China's premier on Monday that the North was prepared to return to multination disarmament talks depending on progress in its two-way negotiations with the U.S.
Kim's comments, carried by official North Korean and Chinese media, were the clearest sign yet that Pyongyang was readying to resume the six-nation talks it withdrew from after conducting missile tests in April and a second nuclear test in May.
In their meeting late Monday, Kim said that North Korea "is willing to attend multilateral talks, including the six-party talks, depending on the progress in its talks with the United States," China's Xinhua News Agency said in a report issued early Tuesday.
The North's Korean Central News Agency carried nearly identical comments. In the KCNA report, Kim told Wen that denuclearization remained a goal and that historically hostile relations with the U.S. "should be converted into peaceful ties through bilateral talks without fail."