The State Department said Monday that it supports the dialogue between Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong Il.
Putin made the suggestion for a dialogue during a meeting with Kim over the weekend in Moscow.
"We've always welcomed the international engagement of North Korea with other nations, and in that context, we have watched this visit to Moscow, to Russia, with great interest," Spokesman Richard Boucher said.
After receiving South Korean President Kim Dae-jung in Pyongyang in June 2000, Kim Jong Il promised to reciprocate with a visit to Seoul and the State Department reiterated the call for a North-South dialogue.
"We do note with pleasure that the Russian president stressed to Chairman Kim the importance of making a visit to South Korea, resuming the North-South dialogue," Boucher said. "We think that's an important factor that we've stressed." No date has been set as yet.
Boucher also reiterated that the U.S. is "prepared to undertake serious discussions with the North Koreans without preconditions" and is still waiting for Pyongyang's response to that.
Another official, asking not to be identified, said a second positive development from the Moscow meeting was Kim's promise to retain Pyongyang's moratorium on tests of long-range missiles until 2003. The moratorium has been in effect since 1999.
Fox News’ Teri Schultz and The Associated Press contributed to this report.