South Korea’s Yonhap news agency reported on Monday that talks between Pyongyang and Washington to defuse an increasingly tense row would be held soon.

North Korea and the United States said on Friday they had agreed to hold six-way talks on the nuclear standoff. China, Japan, Russia and South Korea will also attend the talks. The date and venue for the dialogue have yet to be announced.

Pyongyang had previously insisted on bilateral talks with Washington. The US rejected this, demanding North Korea dismantle its nuclear weapons programmes first and insisting that concerned neighbours take part in the discussions.

The prospect of fresh talks comes after months of tension following Washington’s announcement last October that Pyongyang had disclosed it was pursuing a covert nuclear weapons programme.

Since then North Korea has expelled International Agency Energy Inspectors (IAEA) inspectors, withdrawn from the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and restarted a reactor.