|Chung Eui-yong, chief of the presidential national security office|
|U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo|
|Choe Son-hui, North Korea's first vice foreign minister|
Pyongyang's First Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son-hui, who is de facto in charge of the North's overall diplomatic strategies, said the reclusive state was willing to resume nuclear talks with the U.S. sometime late this month.
"I want to believe the U.S. will come up with an alternative that can satisfy mutual interests between Pyongyang and Washington and that is based on a calculation method acceptable to us," Choe said in a statement. "If the U.S. considers using an outdated scenario, which has nothing to do with the new calculation method, the deal between Pyongyang and Washington will come to an end."
But only a few hours after the statement was released, the North on Tuesday morning engaged in yet another military provocation by firing two "unidentified projectiles" off its east coast.
The recent resumption of the North's provocative actions is viewed by many in line with the North's strategy to raise "its bar" ahead of the working-level nuclear talks with the United States.
In response, South Korea's presidential National Security Council (NSC) convened an emergency meeting presided by NSC chief Chung Eui-yong. "We express a strong sense of regret over the North's repeated firings of short-range projectiles since this May," Cheong Wa Dae said in a statement.
It remains too early to predict the exact timing and site of the bilateral talks as North Korea has yet to share additional details and both sides are still known to be fine-tuning details over the upcoming meeting, according to officials.
But Washington, for its part, expressed optimism for the restart of denuclearization talks with Pyongyang.
"Well, I saw a statement was just put out having to do with North Korea, and that will be interesting," U.S. President Donald Trump told White House pool reporters, Tuesday morning (KST). "I always say having meetings is a good thing, not a bad thing."
South Korean government authorities remained careful in analyzing the motives behind the North's military provocations and the signal for resumption of Washington-Pyongyang nuclear diplomacy.
On Tuesday afternoon, Seoul's unification ministry said it would continue to keep a close watch on any movements from the North.
"Choe's statement and the launch of the projectiles came almost at the same time, so it is worth analyzing," a ministry official told reporters in a regular briefing. "But it is not appropriate for us to make any rash judgments over the North's intentions," the official said.
The ministry also raised hopes that the potential restart of the working-level nuclear talks between the U.S. and North Korea will help revive the dialogue momentum between the two Koreas. The inter-Korean talks lost momentum in the wake of the failure of the Hanoi summit last February.
Political parties expressed concerns over repeated missile tests from the North.
"Later this month, the U.S. and the North appear to sit on the dialogue table for the working-level nuclear talks, but South Korea is totally excluded from the discussion," main opposition Liberty Korea Party spokesperson Rep. Jun Hee-kyung said.