Jeffrey Bader, a top adviser to US President Barack Obama, announced on Friday that the US would be willing to engage in bilateral talks with North Korea if the east Asian republic were to agree to abandon its nuclear program.
"We are prepared to engage directly with the North Koreans," said Bader, the US National Security Council's senior director for Asian affairs.
Obama is slated to visit Japan, Singapore, China and South Korea in the coming week.
The US has in the past conducted direct talks with North Korea on its nuclear development activities. However, the latest round of negotiations ended several months ago.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Il recently announced that he would be willing to resume talks, adding that his country would "go its own way" if the US refused.