The reported willingness of the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-il, to restrain his country's long-range missile programme would be another step in meeting the worries of the United States and other western states.
The American Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright, said after her unprecedented talks with Mr Kim in Pyongyang that she took his remarks as showing a serious desire to resolve a range of issues relating to missiles.
On the face of it, there has been a dramatic turnaround.
DPRK-U.S.A. Relations Enter New Era
U.S. Secretary of State Officially Visits Pyongyang
As the first official trip to Pyongyang of a high-ranking U.S. official, U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright set foot on Pyongyang on the early morning of October 23.
This suffices to indicate that long-standing hostilities between the DPRK and the U.S. started to be melted into a friendly relation