China says the country's senior foreign policy adviser will meet with U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson later this week amid concerns over North Korea.

The statement released late Monday by the official Xinhua News Agency gave no further details, but the meeting between Tillerson and Yang Jiechi comes amid increasing tensions over North Korea's nuclear weapons program.

China has long been the North's main economic and diplomatic partner, but has also backed increasingly strict U.N. sanctions on Kim Jong Un's regime.

The statement cited foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang as its source. He said Yang, a state counselor and former foreign minister, would visit the U.S. on Thursday and Friday.

The visit comes amid rising U.S.-China economic tensions underscored by Washington's move to raise tariffs on imported solar modules.