The Bush administration says North Korea must take the next step if it wants direct talks with the United States.
One day after expressing a willingness to engage in dialogue with Pyongyang, a White House spokesman Wednesday said the administration would like to hear from North Korea. He said there are no conditions on the offer of direct talks, but he added that the end result must be for North Korea to abandon its nuclear ambitions.
The Bush administration previously had called for North Korea to roll back attempts to revive its nuclear facilities, before Washington would engage in talks.
Earlier Wednesday, North Korea repeated its accusation that the United States is pushing the Korean peninsula toward nuclear war. And it again urged South Korea to help defuse the situation.
The North's state-run media accused Washington of spreading false rumors about the nuclear issue to encourage confrontation between North and South Korea.
Pyongyang recently took away surveillance cameras and protective seals from its main nuclear complex north of the capital. Last week, it expelled two United Nations nuclear inspectors.