The official KCNA news agency said on Tuesday that Kim told Wang Jiarui, head of the Chinese Communist Party's international liaison department, that the North had never opposed the talks and is committed to the de-nuclearisation of the Korean peninsula.

"We will go to the negotiating table anytime if there are mature
conditions for the six-party talks thanks to the
concerted efforts of the parties concerned in the future," KCNA quoted Kim as saying.

He expressed hope that the US would show "trustworthy sincerity and move", KCNA said.

Nuclear weapons

Pyongyang explicitly declared for the first time on 10 February that it possessed nuclear weapons and pulled out of the six-party talks, attended by the two Koreas, China, Russia, the US and Japan.

Rice has called North Korea one
of 'the outposts of tyranny'

The six parties had previously met for three rounds of talks aimed at ending Pyongyang's nuclear programme in return for aid and security guarantees, but a planned fourth round never materialised.

North Korea has said recent statements by US President George
Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice labelling it as one of "the outposts of tyranny" proved Washington's hostility and its designs to overthrow its government.