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China, North Korea will hold talks this week after new Pyongyang offer of dialogue with US

China says it will hold a strategic dialogue with North Korea this week following Pyongyang's surprise offer of new talks with the U.S.

The Foreign Ministry announced Monday that Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Yesui would meet with North Korean First Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kye Gwan on Wednesday in Beijing.

Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said the two would discuss bilateral relations and the situation on the Korean Peninsula.

North Korea on Sunday proposed "senior-level" talks to ease tensions, which spiked this year over Pyongyang's long-range rocket launch and February nuclear test. The offer is expected to be discussed in meetings this week in Washington involving U.S., Japanese and South Korean officials.

Hua said China hopes the two sides can work toward restarting broader, six-party talks on the nuclear issue.