Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said Tuesday his country is willing to resume normal diplomatic relations with North Korea despite a fallout nearly three years ago in the wake of the assassination of North Korea leader Kim Jong Un's half brother Kim Jong-nam in Kuala Lumpur airport.

“Now it is time to resume the normal relations between Malaysia and North Korea,” Mahathir told South Korea's Yonhap News Agency. “We want to be friendly with all countries in the world … . Even North Korea can provide some trade for us. We don’t like confrontation.”

Kim Jong-nam was an occasional critic of the North Korea government and had embarrassed the regime when he traveled to Japan in 2001 on a fake passport. 

Malaysia had partially closed its embassy in North Korea's capital of Pyongyang after a nerve agent was used to kill Kim Jong-nam and North Korea was suspected of being behind the action. Mohamad said he is talking to North Korean officials about the "appropriate time" to reopen the embassy. 

North Korea and the U.S. are currently in negotiations over the country's nuclear program, with Pyongyang possibly willing to commit to a path of denuclearization in exchange for reduced sanctions. Mahathir has criticized Washington's approach to the talks, saying that the U.S. is asking North Korea to "practically demilitarize the whole country" before sanctions are eased.

U.S. and North Korean negotiators last met in early October, but talks fell through on the first day. President Donald Trump has also met Kim Jong Un in Hanoi and Singapore for talks, but so far no concrete agreement has been reached between the two sides.

North Korea has set a year-end deadline for a deal and has threatened missile tests if the U.S. doesn't change its "hostile" approach to negotiations.