North Korean supreme leader Kim Jong-un said in his New Year message to his citizens that nuclear weapons are the country's guardian in defence against "provocations" against "nasty" US and its allies, but announced that given the right circumstances and time, Pyongyang is willing to hold "highest level" talks with its Southern counterpart, Seoul.
The young dictator of the country, known around the world as a hermit kingdom, also urged Washington to take a "bold shift" in its policy towards North Korea while he condemned the United States for leading a campaign against the regime's human rights record.
The sudden announcement from the leader is expected to clear path for a long-aspired top level inter-Korean meeting since 2007 summit held in Pyongyang.
"Depending on the mood and circumstances to be created, we have no reason not to hold the highest-level talks," Kim said, extending the possibility of improvement in relation between the two siblings who are technically at war.
"The US and its followers are holding on to a nasty 'human rights' racket as their schemes to destroy our self-defensive nuclear deterrent and stifle our republic by force become unrealisable," he said as quoted by AFP as saying.
He further said that Pyongyang "will make every effort to advance dialogue and negotiations," adding that the "tragic" division of the Korean peninsula is not a tolerable situation.
South's unification ministry in charge of inter-Korea affairs immediately welcomed Kim's advance and urged its northern counterpart to quickly accept its proposal for high level meeting.
"Our government wants North Korea to respond quickly to our proposal for dialogue if it is truly willing to improve relations through dialogue," it said in a statement.
The US State Department also supported the move made by North, stating: "We support improved inter-Korean relations."
This comes as North is under tremendous pressure to improve its human rights record, with the UN Security council stepping up its resolution to refer the country to the International Court of Justice.
This also comes days after the country suffered a mysterious but widespread and massive internet outage as the Obama administration vowed action against a major cyber attack on Sony Pictures blamed on North Korea. The Kim regime was against the release of the controversial film called "The Interview", which shows a fictional plot to assassinate Kim.