North Korea’s Kim Jong Il has issued what sounds like a New Year’s message of peace and hope.
Pyongyang has called for an atomic-free peninsula and an end to hostile relations with Washington.
The message comes just weeks after hints the destitute and isolated regime could end its year-long boycott of nuclear disarmament talks.
And the statement also said it wanted a lasting peace between the two Koreas. Technically they have been at war since 1950.
US President Barack Obama wrote a personal letter to Kim Jong Il last month, urging him to return to six-nation nuclear disarmament talks.
But analysts say although the New Year message appears optomistic, previous similar statements have been followed by attempts to draw the US into bilateral talks – something Washington is keen to avoid.