"We hope that the North and the United States will launch a constructive dialogue when the time is right," the spokesperson told a press conference, as quoted by the Donga media outlet.
On Sunday, the South Korean presidential office released a statement saying that Kim Yong-chol, a senior official of the North Korean ruling Worker's Party in charge of inter-Korean relations, had indicated at a meeting with South Korean President Moon Jae-in that Pyongyang was ready to hold talks with the United States.
The reaction of the United States was rather restrained, with the White House saying that it had yet to see if North Korea's statement was a "first step" to removing nuclear weapons from the Korean peninsula and noting that the pressure on Pyongyang should continue in the meantime.
On February 23, Washington imposed new sanctions on 27 shipping and transport companies, as well as 28 vessels from Singapore, Taiwan, China, the DPRK and several other countries. These actions were taken by the US side in the framework of counteraction to the North Korean nuclear and ballistic programs.