A senior North Korean diplomat handling US affairs for the country said on Saturday (13 May) that Pyongyang was willing to hold talks with Washington.

"We'll have dialogue if the conditions are there," Choe Son-hui, the North's foreign ministry director general for US affairs, said when asked if her country was preparing to hold talks with Washington. She made her comments in Beijing as she was returning to North Korea from Norway, Yonhap reported.

Choe is a veteran member of Pyongyang's team of nuclear negotiators. Leading a delegation, Choe met a group of experts and former US government officials for the so-called Track Two diplomacy talks in the Norwegian capital Oslo, according to reports. It is reported to be the latest in a series of such meetings where official and non-official actors cooperate in conflict resolution.

At least one former US government official took part in the Track Two meeting but no one from the Trump administration was involved, Reuters cited a source with knowledge of the meeting as saying.

Her comments have come at a time when tensions are running high in the Korean peninsula and on the heels of the South Korean election. The newly elected President Moon Jae-in has pledged to engage in dialogue with the North in order bring more stability to the divided peninsula.

When asked if Pyongyang was also preparing to hold talks with Moon, Choe said: "We'll see."

International efforts have been stepped up to ease tensions over North Korea's nuclear programme and missile launches.

In an interview with Reuters last month, Trump warned that a "major, major conflict" with North Korea was possible. However, he said he would prefer a diplomatic solution to the dispute over Pyongyang's nuclear ambitions.

In a recent interview with America's NBC News on Thursday (11 May), Trump noted that the "North Korean situation is a very, very dangerous one for South Korea, for Japan, frankly for China and for the rest of the world."

The US president, who is heavily reliant on the regional government to counter a belligerent Pyongyang, also added that he does not oppose the new South Korean liberal leader's approach to hold discussions with the North. However, he reiterated that talks must be pursued only under "certain circumstances".

"I could probably give you a much better answer to that in a month or two months. We're going to see what happens," Trump said.