South Korean President Lee Myung-bak renewed his call for North Korea to scrap its nuclear weapons programs and said Sunday his country is ready for talks with the North.
Seoul would persuade North Korea that abandoning its nuclear programs "is in its interest," Lee said in a news conference ahead of his trip to the United States for talks with President George W. Bush later this week.
His comments came days after US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice suggested Washington may be backing off on a demand that has held up nuclear disarmament talks with North Korea.
International negotiations have been stalled for months over differences on whether North Korea has met its commitment to fully declare its atomic programs under an agreement reached last year with the US and other regional powers.
North Korea has claimed it gave the US the nuclear list in November. But Washington has said the North never produced a "complete and correct" list that would address all its past atomic activity.