North Korea is willing to hold talks with Japan if they are not confined to the abduction issue that Pyongyang claims has been resolved, the country's state media reported Monday.
The official Korean Central News Agency quoted Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Pak Sang Gil as saying if Japan "tries to make a new decision" and looks to improve the relationship, "there is no reason for the DPRK and Japan not to meet."
DPRK stands for North Korea's official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.
But Pak also said the issue of Japanese nationals abducted by North Korea decades ago "had already been resolved" even though Japan is calling for the settlement of the issue, according to the KCNA report.
Pak was responding to remarks by Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida who said at an event in Tokyo on Saturday that he intends to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to resolve the issue of Japanese nationals abducted in the 1970s and 1980s.
It is believed North Korea showed a positive attitude toward holding talks with Japan for the first time since Tokyo levied further sanctions on the country in 2016 in reaction to its nuclear and missile tests and Pyongyang suspended the probe into the abduction issue.
Pak said it would be "a miscalculation and a waste of time" if Kishida's government adopts the same stance on the issue as previous Japan governments, according to KCNA.