WASHINGTON -- U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said on Monday that the United States was prepared to return to the six-party talks "without precondition."
"We've said many times that we are prepared to return to the talks without precondition and that holds," Rice told reporters before she kicks off Asian trip.
Rice urged the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) to return to the six-party talks, involving the United States, the DPRK, the Republic of Korea, China, Japan and Russia, that began in August 2003.
"We must remind North Korea that a positive path remains open to it through the six-party talks," Rice said, noting "Now, we want very much to have talks that are actually going to lead some place.
Rice also reiterated U.S. call for the DPRK to give up nuclear arms, saying "if it makes the strategic choice to dismantle its nuclear weapons completely, verifiably and irreversibly, an entirely new and better future would be open to it and to its people."
The DPRK claimed it conducted a successful nuclear test on Oct.9. It also "totally rejects" a resolution unanimously adopted Saturday by the UN Security Council on its nuclear test.
The six-party talks have been stalled since September last year when the DPRK boycotted U.S. financial restrictions aimed at Pyongyang.
In last September, Pyongyang agreed in principle to give up its nuclear weapons program in exchange for aid and security and diplomatic guarantees.
Rice is to start her trip to Japan, South Korea and China on Tuesday.