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North Korea Opens Door to Talks with US

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(PYONGYANG, North Korea) -- After months of threats, North Korea is seemingly turning to diplomacy to end disputes with its neighbors and the West.

The latest instance of this supposedly new tact from Pyongyang came Sunday as a government agency suggested bilateral talks with Washington about possibly ending its nuclear ambitions in the future.

North Korea's National Defense Commission, which is run by leader Kim Jong-un, said as long as the U.S. sets no preconditions for talks, it could select the venue and date for a meeting.

Washington views such overtures with a cautious eye since Pyongyang has offered olive branches in the past, only to pull them away just as suddenly.

In talks with North Korea last year, the U.S. promised 240,000 tons of food aid if Pyongyang suspended its weapons programs.  However, the launch of a long-range missile just a few months later ended the agreement.

More recently, North Korea and Japan have instigated talks with China about rebooting discussions regarding its nuclear programs.  However, talks with South Korea fell apart when the two sides couldn't agree on the seniority of delegations.

What ultimately might kill off any meeting between Washington and Pyongyang before it begins is the National Defense Commission's insistence that any dismantling of its nuclear programs must be linked to a similar nuclear weapons reduction in the entire region.

Meanwhile, a National Security Council spokeswoman says that the U.S. hopes to have "credible negotiations" with North Korea.

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