China, N. Korea OK to promote denuclearization through dialogue

China and North Korea agreed Wednesday to promote denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula through dialogue at forums such as the six-party talks on ending Pyongyang's nuclear ambitions.

Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Yesui and North Korean First Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kye Gwan reached the agreement during a one-day strategic dialogue in Beijing, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said.

The meeting came after North Korea on Sunday proposed high-level nuclear and security talks with the United States in an apparent attempt to defuse tensions on the peninsula ahead of the 60th anniversary of the end of the 1950-1953 Korean War in late July.

Kim, Pyongyang's point man on nuclear issues and policy toward the United States, is believed to have asked China to help North Korea arrange direct high-level talks with Washington.

Zhang is believed to have urged North Korea to rejoin the six-nation talks, which have been stalled since December 2008. The aid-for-denuclearization negotiations involve North and South Korea, China, Japan, Russia and the United States.

Kim, who arrived in Beijing on Tuesday, had a separate meeting with Wu Dawei, China's special representative for Korean Peninsula affairs who chairs the six-party talks.

But it is not known whether the six-way negotiations will resume soon. North Korea has insisted it will not abandon its nuclear arsenal in the face of what it calls U.S. nuclear threats, while the United States, Japan and South Korea say the North must take meaningful steps toward denuclearization before there can be talks.

In a dispatch from Beijing, the North's official Korean Central News Agency reported that Kim and Zhang "exchanged views on the issue of boosting the friendly and cooperative relations between the two countries and other issues of mutual concern."

The dialogue precedes a visit to Beijing by South Korean President Park Geun Hye later this month for a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping.