North Korea Willing to Settle Nuclear Dispute 'Through Dialogue'

North Korea (search) said Tuesday that it was willing to resolve the dispute over its nuclear program "through dialogue," in an apparent softening of its stance following last week's six-nation talks in Beijing (search).

After last week's talks in the Chinese capital, North Korea had angrily dismissed the need for more talks and threatened to strengthen its "nuclear deterrent force," casting doubt on the prospects for future talks.

On Tuesday, Pyongyang's state-run news agency KCNA repeated North Korea's threat to increase its nuclear capabilities unless the United States changes its policy and signs a nonaggression treaty with the communist state, but it also said North Korea was willing to continue the six-nation talks.

"We have not yet changed our firm will to resolve the nuclear problem between the DPRK and the United States through dialogue," KCNA said in a commentary monitored by South Korea's Yonhap news agency.

DPRK stands for Democratic People's Republic of Korea, North Korea's official name.

Last week, representatives from the United States, the two Koreas, Japan, China and Russia met in Beijing to discuss ways to end the nuclear crisis. After the meeting, China released a statement saying all the six countries agreed to continue to talk, but the North Korea said it no longer had "interest nor expectations" for such talks.

The United States insists that North Korea scrap its nuclear programs, but the North says the United States must first provide security and aid guarantees.