Nov. 14 (UPI) -- North Korea's top nuclear negotiator says he is prepared to meet with U.S. Special Representative for North Korea Stephen Biegun ahead of a Pyongyang deadline for a U.S.-North Korea summit by the end of 2019.
In a statement published on KCNA, negotiator Kim Myong Gil said Biegun had suggested holding discussions in December in a third country, Yonhap reported Thursday.
"If the negotiated solution of issues is possible, we are ready to meet with the U.S. at any place and any time," Kim said.
The North Korean statement comes after U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper told reporters he is willing to adjust the scale of combined training in response to diplomatic demands, according to Yonhap.
Esper made the statement the same day North Korea warned the United States against conducting joint exercises with the South.
Esper and U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Mark Milley are expected to meet with South Korean President Moon Jae-in in Seoul on Friday.
Their visit comes at a time of intense negotiations between the two sides over defense burden sharing.
Concern is growing in South Korea as local media report the Trump administration may have asked Seoul to pay as much as $4.7 billion for the cost of keeping U.S. troops on and beyond the peninsula. The number far surpasses the current amount South Korea contributes on an annual basis, about $1 billion.
On Thursday, South Korea's ruling Democratic Party introduced a resolution in parliament, proposing the United States withdraw its "unreasonable demand" for military cost sharing, local network JTBC reported Thursday.
The resolution has the support of 74 Democratic Party lawmakers.
Yoon Sang-hyun, a member of the main opposition Liberty Korea Party and chair of the National Assembly's Foreign Affairs and Unification Committee, said an "unjustifiable" cost increase will "not be easy to ratify" in parliament.
U.S. and South Korean officials have tried to ease concerns.
Robert Abrams, commander of U.S. Forces Korea, told reporters on Thursday the increase in South Korea's burden sharing would return to the local economy, Yonhap reported.
South Korean defense ministry officials said they agree with Abrams' statement, according to the report.