China's chief negotiator to the six-nation talks aimed at ending North Korea's nuclear program arrived in Pyongyang on Monday, the North's official news service reported.
The Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported Wu Dawei was in Pyongyang, but it gave no details such as the purpose of his visit or his itinerary.
However, Wu's visit is widely seen as being related to ongoing efforts by Beijing to restart the stalled multilateral dialogue aimed at getting the North to give up its nuclear ambitions.
The six-party talks, which have been stalled since late 2008, involve the two Koreas, the United States, China, Japan and Russia.
Related to negotiations aimed at getting Pyongyang to give up its nukes, Chinese Defense Minister Chang Wanquan had recently told his U.S. counterpart Chuck Hagel that it is best not to have preconditions and that three or four interested parties can meet to try resolving outstanding issues. The smaller group can reduce the preparation time for talks.
Wu's visit comes as North Korea's vice foreign minister Kim Kye-gwan visited Beijing in June to make clear Pyongyang's willingness to engage in talks, although the official did not touch on calls to give up its nuclear program.
On the latest trip by the Chinese official, a government source said that Seoul is carefully following the event, and waiting to see the results of talks.
"The important thing is that South Korea and the international community send a consistent message and create conditions conducive for dialogue," said the official, who declined to be identified.
Seoul and Washington have maintained that all talks must be based on Pyongyang's clear intent to give up its nuclear weapons.
In defiance of international warnings, the communist country tested its third nuclear device in February. (Yonhap News)