North Korea is willing to talk about getting rid of its nuclear weapons but only if its own safety can be guaranteed, South Korea says.
The South says the subject was raised when its officials met with the North’s leader, Kim Jong-un, in Pyongyang on Monday, during a rare visit.
They said Mr Kim is also open to US talks, and would pause weapons testing.
In previous programmes to halt its nuclear ambitions, the North has failed to keep its promises.
The leaders of North and South Korea have also agreed to meet at a summit next month, Seoul’s envoy says.
It will be the first such meeting for more than a decade and the first since Kim Jong-un took power in North Korea.
Mr Kim and South Korean President Moon Jae-in will meet on the heavily fortified border next month, at the truce village of Panmunjom. The countries also agreed to open a hotline between the leaders.
- North Korea crisis in 300 words
- Have the Winter Olympics repaired North-South Korea relations?
- Fast-closing window for diplomacy post-Olympics
Throughout February’s Winter Olympics in South Korea, the two countries struck a friendly tone, sending athletes to compete in a joint team and holding talks.
But the US maintained that North Korean gestures of rapprochement would carry little weight without a commitment on nuclear weapons – particularly following last year’s nuclear and missile tests carried out by the North.
The South Korean delegation is expected to visit Washington later this week to brief US officials on their talks in the North.