North Korea will be open to talks with the United States next year, South Korea’s government cheerfully predicted Tuesday as part of its 2018 outlook. 

In its official forecast, South Korea reasoned that North Korea would pursue diplomatic dialogue and engagement with Washington — not open confrontation — because it was likely to seek international recognition of its status as a nuclear-armed country.  

“North Korea may continue to advance its nuclear and missile capabilities while searching for an outlet externally,” South Korea’s Ministry of Unification said in its predictions for North Korea in 2018, according to South Korea’s Yonhap news agency.

“In searching for the recognition of its status as a de facto nuclear-possessing state, (the North) would explore the possibility of negotiations with the U.S.”

Still, while some U.S. diplomats, including Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, have indicated they would be in favor of talks with North Korea, President Trump has consistently maintained that any talks with North Korea would be doomed to failure.

Trump believes that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un must first fully commit to giving up the country’s pursuit of nuclear weapons before any talks can begin, something Kim has also consistently made clear he will not do. There was no immediate reaction from the White House or North Korea to the South Korean prediction. 

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South Korea’s Ministry of Unification, which promotes reunification of the two Koreas divided since 1945, said North Korea was also likely to attempt next year to restore diplomatic relations with South Korea. It said it would…