The United States said Friday it was prepared to accept North Korea's offer for direct talks in an effort to persuade the North to return to stalled international nuclear disarmament negotiations.
US State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley told reporters that no decision has been made on when or where such a meeting would happen.
He also insisted that there has been no shift from previous US statements that Washington would only meet with North Korea as part of the six-nation nuclear negotiating process. The North pulled out of the talks in April, protesting international criticism of a rocket launch.
"If a bilateral discussion will lead us back to a six-party process, then why would we not do that?" Crowley asked.
Crowley said consultations among US President Barack Obama, US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and other world leaders about a possible US-North Korea meeting could happen at United Nations meetings later this month.