BEIJING (Reuters) - China's vice president told North Korean leader Kim Jong-un that Beijing will push for talks on ridding the Korean Peninsula of nuclear weapons, as he led a high-level delegation to Pyongyang to mark the 60th anniversary of the end of the Korean war, state news agency Xinhua said on Friday.
Li Yuanchao is a member of the 25-member Politburo and the talks are the highest-level contact between China and North Korea since Kim assumed power in December 2011.
Li conveyed a message from Chinese President Xi Jinping to Kim, according to a report in the People's Daily, the Chinese Communist Party mouthpiece.
"As a close neighbor of the Korean Peninsula, China will persist in the denuclearization of the peninsula, adhere to safeguarding the peace and stability on the peninsula and persist in using dialogue and consultation to resolve the problem," Li was quoted by Xinhua as telling Kim.
Li reiterated China's stance that it was willing to work with all concerned parties to promote the six-party talks and "is committed to pushing for the process of denuclearization".
Six-party aid-for-disarmament talks, involving the two Koreas, the United States, Japan, Russia and host China, collapsed in 2008 when the North walked away from the deal.
Kim told Li that North Korea "supports China's efforts to resume the six-party talks", according to Xinhua.
Beijing is the main economic and diplomatic lifeline for the impoverished and isolated state, whose three nuclear weapons tests since 2006 have threatened Asia's security.
But China has grown increasingly frustrated with its neighbor and ally since the North conducted its latest test in February.
The North threatened South Korea and the United States with a nuclear war for weeks in response to toughened U.N. sanctions imposed after the test, but has since been more conciliatory.
Li told Kim that relations between China and North Korea are "entering a new era" that would build on the past while preparing for the future, Xinhua said. Li's visit ends on Sunday.
In June, a top North Korean diplomat repeated an offer for international talks on his country's disputed nuclear program during a meeting in China, saying the denuclearization of the peninsula was the "dying wish" of North Korea's founder, Kim Il-sung.
The United States has said any talks must involve action by the North to show it is moving toward disarmament. Washington has been skeptical of any move by Pyongyang towards dialogue as it has repeatedly backtracked on deals, most recently in 2012, when it agreed to a missile and nuclear test moratorium only to fire a rocket a few weeks later.
(Reporting by Sui-Lee Wee; Editing by Stephen Coates)
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