A South Korean envoy arrived in Beijing on Tuesday in the latest diplomatic drive to restart six-nation talks on resolving the standoff over North Korea's (search) nuclear ambitions.
"Now is a very important time," said Chung Dong-young, South Korea's unification minister, who also serves as chairman of the standing committee of its National Security Council.
"South Korea and China will talk about the North Korea issue. And we will discuss how to deal with the North Korea issue in a peaceful way," he said.
Chung was scheduled to meet China's (search) No. 2 leader Wu Bangguo and Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing.
The two countries are leading efforts to restart talks aimed on Washington's demand for North Korea to dismantle its nuclear programs. The talks also include the Japan and Russia (search).
China has hosted three rounds of talks without a breakthrough. A fourth round that was to be held in September never took place because North Korea refused to attend.
"Top officials from both sides will hold deep discussions on these issues," Chung told reporters upon his arrival at Beijing's airport. "We will brief you on the details after our meetings."
The South Korean news agency Yonhap reported that Chung is carrying a letter for Chinese President Hu Jintao from South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun.
North Korea says it will abandon its nuclear weapons development if the United States provides economic aid and security guarantees, including a peace treaty to replace the armistice that ended the 1950-53 Korean War.