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(LEAD) N. Korea's chief nuclear envoy to visit China this week
BEIJING, June 17 (Yonhap) -- North Korea's chief nuclear envoy will visit Beijing this week for talks with senior Chinese officials, China's foreign ministry said Monday, a day after Pyongyang proposed high-level talks with Washington aimed at easing tensions and denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula.

   The North's veteran nuclear negotiator and first vice foreign minister, Kim Kye-gwan, plans to meet with Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Yesui in Beijing on Wednesday for a "strategic dialogue," China's foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying told reporters.

   After months of provocations, including a third nuclear test and bellicose threats against South Korea and the U.S., North Korea has appeared to shift to dialogue in recent weeks. Pyongyang had proposed talks with Seoul, but the proposed inter-Korean dialogue collapsed last week due to a difference over the seniority level of chief representatives.

   On Sunday, North Korea issued a surprise overture of talks to the U.S., but insisted that there should be no preconditions if such a dialogue takes place -- a condition Washington would never accept.

   Officials in Seoul and Washington have skeptically reacted with the North's latest overture, saying Pyongyang must demonstrate its sincerity for talks through actions, not words.

   Asked about the North's dialogue offer toward Washington, Hua reiterated Beijing's long-time policy, saying China wants relevant parties to resume dialogue to solve issues on the Korean Peninsula.

   The six-party talks aimed at persuading the North to give up its nuclear ambitions have been stalled since late 2008. The multilateral forum involved the two Koreas, the U.S., China, Russia and Japan.

   Also on Wednesday, chief nuclear negotiators from South Korea, the U.S. and Japan will hold a trilateral meeting in Washington to coordinate their joint approach toward North Korea, the U.S. State Department said.

   South Korea and the U.S. have stressed that North Korea must comply with U.N. Security Council resolutions and abide by international obligations for the resumption of the six-party talks.