SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — A senior North Korean diplomat on Tuesday said North Korea and the United States have agreed to resume nuclear negotiations on Oct. 5 after a months-long stalemate over withdrawal of sanctions in exchange for disarmament.
Choe Son-hui, North Korea's first vice minister of foreign affairs, said North Korea and the United States will have a preliminary contact on Friday before holding working-level talks on Saturday.
In a statement released by North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency, Choe expressed optimism over the outcome of the meeting but did not say where it would take place.
"It is my expectation that the working-level negotiations would accelerate the positive development of the DPRK-U.S. relations," Choe said in the statement, using an abbreviation for the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.
Nuclear negotiations have been at a standstill for months after a February summit between North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and President Donald Trump in Vietnam, which broke down after the U.S. side rejected North Korean demands for broad sanctions relief in exchange for partially surrendering its nuclear capabilities.
North Korea followed the summit with belligerent rhetoric and a slew of short-range weapons tests that were seen as an attempt to gain leverage ahead of a possible resumption of negotiations.
Choe's announcement came after North Korea praised Trump for suggesting that Washington may pursue an unspecified "new method" in nuclear negotiations with the North. North Korea also welcomed Trump's decision to fire hawkish former National Security Adviser John Bolton, who advocated a "Libya model" of unilateral denuclearization as a template for North Korea.