US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson appears to have been contradicted by the White House and his own department, after suggesting the US had softened its position on talks with North Korea.
Mr Tillerson said on Tuesday that he was ready to open dialogue with Pyongyang, without preconditions.
But within a day, the White House and State Department had reiterated the administration's hard line, stressing that North Korea must first commit to abandoning its nuclear weapons.
The mixed messages mark the third time in recent months that Mr Tillerson has been publicly at odds with the White House.
Speaking at a policy forum in Washington DC on Tuesday, the secretary of state told the audience: "We've said from the diplomatic side we're ready to talk any time North Korea, would like to talk, and we're ready to have the first meeting without precondition."
He added: "Let's just meet and let's talk about the weather if you want and talk about whether it's going to be a square table or a round table if that's what you're excited about."
The contradiction is the latest clash between the White House and the secretary of state.
Mr Tillerson has also defended the Obama administration deal to curb Iran's nuclear ambitions, which Mr Trump has railed against and sought to overturn, reports BBC..