China (searchon Wednesday confirmed that North Korean leader Kim Jong Il (searchpaid a three-day visit to Beijing, and said both sides agreed to "continue jointly pushing forward" for six-party talks.

It was the first confirmation of the visit by the Chinese side, which usually withholds details until after Kim returns to North Korea.

Kim's "unofficial visit" to China began Monday at the invitation of President Hu Jintao (search), the official Xinhua News Agency said.

Hu and Kim "exchanged in-depth views on peacefully solving the nuclear issue of the Korean Peninsula," Xinhua said.

"Both sides ... agreed to continue the position on solving the issue through dialogue and in a peaceful way, and jointly pushing forward the six-party talks process," the agency said.

South Korean media had reported that Kim had talked about Pyongyang's nuclear weapons program with Chinese leaders, including Hu and former President Jiang Zemin, who now heads China's military commission.

The leaders urged him to ease off his hardline stance toward the United States to resolve a standoff over its nuclear ambitions, the reports said.

The visit was an opportunity for China to help nudge forward planning for the next round of six-party talks on the nuclear issue.

The United States, China, the two Koreas, Japan and Russia met in Beijing in February for the talks, aimed persuading North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons program, but little progress was made.