North Korean Vice Foreign Minister Kim Hyong Jun arrived in China Tuesday, a diplomatic source told the South Korean news agency, adding Kim "is expected to discuss nuclear issues with Chinese officials."
Kim's visit comes on the heels of the Washington visit of China's chief nuclear envoy Wu Dawei, whose meetings included one with his U.S. counterpart Glyn Davies.
China's stepped-up efforts for the resumption of the stalled six-nation talks to end North Korea's nuclear program comes as the isolated regime in Pyongyang has been expressing its willingness to come to the table. Besides North Korea and China, others in the talks are South Korea, Japan, Russia and the United States.
Impoverished North Korea is under tough U.N. Security Council sanctions after it conducted its third nuclear test in February despite strong warnings from the international community. The six-nation talks have remained stalled since 2009 after North Korea unilaterally ended them.
Since then the United States and South Korea have maintained the talks cannot resume until the North demonstrates its sincerity to honor its earlier commitments to denuclearize. The North wants the talks to start without conditions.
Yonhap said China, the North's major benefactor and ally, wants South Korea and the United States to relax their demands for restarting the process.