PYONGYANG, North Korea — After months of threatening to wage a nuclear war, North Korea did an about-face Sunday and issued a surprise proposal to the United States, its top enemy: Let’s talk.
But the invitation from North Korea’s National Defense Commission, the powerful governing body led by leader Kim Jong Un, comes with caveats: No preconditions and no demands that Pyongyang give up its prized nuclear assets unless Washington is willing to do the same — ground rules that make it hard for the Americans to accept.
Washington responded by saying that it is open to talks, but only if North Korea shows it will comply with UN Security Council resolutions and live up to its international obligations.
‘‘As we have made clear, our desire is to have credible negotiations with the North Koreans, but those talks must involve North Korea living up to its obligations to the world, including compliance with UN Security Council resolutions, and ultimately result in denuclearization,’’ said Caitlin Hayden, spokeswoman for the National Security Council.
‘‘We will judge North Korea by its actions, and not its words and look forward to seeing steps that show North Korea is ready to abide by its commitments and obligations,’’ Hayden said.