U.S. National Security Adviser Jim Jones, speaking on "Fox News Sunday," said a meeting last week between former U.S. President Bill Clinton and North Korean leader Kim Jong Il yielded comments from the Korean ruler indicating he desires improved relations with the United States.
"The North Koreans have indicated that they would like a new relation -- a better relation with the United States," Jones said. "They've always advocated for bilateral engagement. We have put on the table in the context of the (six-party) talks we would be happy to do that if, in fact, they would rejoin the (six-party) talks."
Clinton's visit with Kim was a private one meant to secure the release of two U.S. journalists, and Jones said members of his traveling party were still being debriefed. But he added it appeared Kim's grip on power was still strong despite recent health problems.
"Preliminary reports appeared that Kim Jong Il is in full control of his organization, his government," he said. "The conversations were respectful and cordial in tone."