The United States said Thursday that it stands ready to continue nuclear disarmament talks with North Korea, a response to Pyongyang's calls on Washington to change tack and replace its top negotiator.
The two countries have made little headway since a second summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in February ended without any deal.
In a report carried by state media earlier Thursday, the North urged the U.S. to remove the "obstacles" on the path to its denuclearization and called for the replacement of U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo with someone "who is more careful and mature in communicating with us."
"We are aware of the report," a State Department spokesperson said by email. "The United States remains ready to engage North Korea in a constructive negotiation."
The North Korean report came on the heels of Kim's speech to the country's parliament last week, in which he expressed openness to a third summit with Trump if the U.S. came with the "right attitude" and "right methodology."
The previous summit in Vietnam broke down due to differences over the scope of North Korea's denuclearization and sanctions relief from the U.S.
Kim said last week he will wait until the end of the year for the U.S. to make a bold decision regarding their negotiations.
In another possible message to Washington, Kim supervised the test-firing of a new "tactical guided weapon" on Wednesday, according to state media.
It was the first time in five months that the North revealed the young leader's supervision of a weapons test.
Acting U.S. Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan confirmed that there had been a test, but ruled out the involvement of a ballistic missile, according to the AP.
Meanwhile, the Kremlin confirmed Kim will visit Russia later this month for his first summit with President Vladimir Putin.
Analysts have said the North Korean leader may try to cut deals with Russia and China to soften the impact of U.S.-led international sanctions on his regime.
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