South Korean President Lee Myung-bak has called for the resumption of reconciliation talks with North Korea.
At Friday opening session of parliament, Mr. Lee told lawmakers he was willing to hold "serious consultations" with the North.
The president's outreach to the isolated Communist regime marks a change in his approach since first taking office in February.
Mr. Lee also says Seoul is ready to cooperate in alleviating North Korea's chronic food shortages, as well as resolving a host of other issues, including South Korean prisoners of war.
The offer comes on the same day that a South Korean tourist was shot while visiting a resort in the North.
South Korean officials have shut down tours to the Diamond Mountain resort in the wake of the incident, awaiting an investigation into the incident.
Aides to South Korea's president say he learned of the shooting incident just hours before he delivered Friday's address to lawmakers.
When Mr. Lee stepped into office in February, he vowed to take a tougher stance with Pyongyang over its nuclear activities, a move that angered the North.
Mr. Lee's speech before the legislature comes after liberal opposition lawmakers ended a six-week boycott of the legislature this week. Lawmakers had refused to meet in protest of the government's decision to resume imports of U.S. beef.
The boycott ended earlier this week after the ruling Grand National Party agreed to launch an investigation into the agreement reached in April.
Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.