North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has had more messages lately for the United States, which could mean now is a crucial moment for the resumption of dialogue and engagement.
This is according to Seoul's Unification Ministry in a report to lawmakers on Monday for the annual parliamentary audit.
"The North's next moves in relation to the U.S. require attention in view of Kim Jong-un's more frequent and more detailed messages to Washington."
Kim Jong-un said last week that there are no grounds to believe the U.S. is not hostile toward the North, though he also said neither Seoul nor Washington is the regime's "arch-enemy."
The Unification Ministry pointed out the restoration of inter-Korean hotlines earlier this month, and noted that Pyeongyang seems to be seeking ways to reengage abroad.
Monday's assessment came amid a series of diplomatic meetings related to the Korean Peninsula, with the top nuclear envoys of the South, the U.S. and Japan set to meet in Washington on Tuesday.
In fact, on Monday in Seoul, the head of South Korea's intellience agency, Park Jie-won, reportedly sat down behind closed doors for talks with his U.S. counterpart Avril Haines and Japan's cabinet intelligence director Hiroaki Takizawa.
This would have been their first meeting since May.
They likely discussed ways to bring the regime back to the negotiating table and shared assessments of the security situation on the Korean Peninsula following the North's recent missile launches.
Also, a former U.S. envoy to North Korea, Joseph DeTrani, commented on Sunday that if the North is allowed to keep its nuclear weapons, Seoul and Tokyo could decide to acquire their own despite the U.S. commitment to providing nuclear deterrence.
DeTrani said the world needs to ensure that the North denuclearizes completely and verifiably so that doesn't happen.
Kim Dami, Arirang News.