A top North Korean negotiator has arrived at China's Foreign Ministry for strategic talks following a rough patch in relations between the communist allies and Pyongyang's surprise weekend call for dialogue with the U.S.

North Korean First Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kye Gwan was expected to discuss bilateral relations and the situation on the Korean Peninsula with Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Yesui on Wednesday.

Beijing hopes the discussions will lead to a resumption of long-stalled six-nation nuclear disarmament talks. North Korea angered China, its most important ally, with a long-range rocket launch and nuclear test over recent months.

The North's leadership on Sunday proposed "senior-level" talks with the U.S. to ease tensions and negotiate a formal peace treaty ending the Korean War.