BEIJING, Sept. 8 (UPI) -- A senior Chinese official will visit North Korea Friday to discuss Pyongyang's nuclear program as well as bilateral issues, China Daily reported Wednesday.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Kong Quan said that Politburo Standing Committee member Li Changchun would visit Pyongyang from Friday to Monday, in the second high-level meeting between the two countries since North Korean leader Kim Jong-il visited Beijing in April.
Preparations are under way for a new round of six-party talks on the nuclear issue, involving China, Japan, North Korea, South Korea, Russia and the United States. The parties earlier agreed to hold the talks in September.
Japan's Foreign Ministry announced Tuesday that senior officials from Japan, South Korea and the United States would meet in Tokyo late this week.
Kong said China hoped the participants in the talks would keep calm, remain flexible and continue negotiations.
"There are some difficulties, but these are not difficulties which have just arisen at this moment," he said. He said a nuclear-free Korean peninsula could be attained "step by step."