S. Korea, China Meet Over N. Korean Missile

South Korea's foreign minister arrived Monday in Beijing to seek China's cooperation in halting North Korea's apparent steps toward test-launching a long-range missile.

Ban Ki-moon's two-day trip is being made at the invitation of his Chinese counterpart Li Zhaoxing, whom he will hold talks with.

Ban would discuss "all matters pertaining to Korea and China, including the early resumption of six-party talks as well as North Korea's attempt to test fire a long-range missile," he said to reporters upon arriving in Beijing.

"China has been playing a very constructive role for the maintenance of peace and stability on the Korean peninsula," Ban said.

China, a key provider of aid to the impoverished North, is believed able to exert the most influence on Pyongyang. Beijing has also hosted international talks on the North's nuclear program, which haven't convened since November amid a North Korean boycott in anger over U.S. financial restrictions.

Ban was also to meet Chinese State Councilor Tang Jiaxuan, the official Xinhua News Agency said. He was scheduled to return to Seoul on Tuesday evening.

The South Korean foreign minister had said last week he would "ask China to actively persuade North Korea" against test-launching a missile that analysts say is capable of reaching parts of the U.S.

The North's reported steps toward a launch have drawn international concern.

The North shocked the world in 1998 by firing a missile that flew over northern Japan and into the Pacific Ocean. It has been under a self-imposed moratorium on long-range missile tests since 1999, but has since test-fired many short-range missiles.

Worries over the possible launch comes as international talks on the North's nuclear weapons ambitions remain stalled.

Negotiators from the two Koreas, China, Japan, Russia and the U.S. last met in November, with no progress on ways to implement a September agreement, in which the North agreed to give up its nuclear programs in exchange for aid and security guarantees.