North Korea has agreed with the United States to start their talks on Friday, a senior diplomat said Tuesday, as expectations grew that the two countries will resume their stalled denuclearization negotiations in the not-so-distant future.

Pyongyang and Washington will hold working-level talks on Saturday after having preliminary contact the previous day, North Korean First Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son Hui said in a statement carried by the official Korean Central News Agency.

But KCNA did not elaborate where the two sides will meet.

"It is my expectation that the working-level negotiations would accelerate the positive development of the DRPK-U.S. relations," Choe said, referring to the country by its formal name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

South Korea quickly reacted to Pyongyang's statement, saying it is welcoming a possible resumption of working-level talks between North Korea and the United States.

Ko Min Jung, a spokeswoman of South Korea's presidential office, said the government "is looking forward to seeing the actual progress toward complete denuclearization and permanent peace regime on the Korean Peninsula at an early stage."

Since early last month, North Korea has extended an olive branch to the United States, saying it is ready to hold dialogue with Washington.

In late September, Kim Myong Gil, a former North Korean ambassador to Vietnam, announced via state-run media that he would lead working-level talks with the United States over issues including denuclearization.

U.S. Special Representative for North Korea Stephen Biegun is likely to be Kim's counterpart.

At their Feb. 27-28 summit in the Vietnamese capital Hanoi, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and U.S. President Donald Trump fell short of bridging the gap between Washington's denuclearization demands and Pyongyang's calls for sanctions relief.

The two leaders agreed at their June 30 meeting in the inter-Korean truce village of Panmunjeom that Pyongyang and Washington would restart working-level negotiations within weeks, but such talks have yet to be held.

Instead, North Korea has continued to test-fire its weapons considered to be short-range ballistic missiles in recent months.

In a speech delivered at the U.N. General Assembly, North Korean Ambassador to the United Nations Kim Song said Monday that the country is willing to resume talks with the United States if Washington produces a workable plan to break the impasse over Pyongyang's denuclearization.

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