A delegation from the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), led by the country's Deputy Foreign Minister Kim Yong-il, has arrived in Beijing, China's Foreign Ministry confirmed Tuesday.
But the ministry did not link the visit to the stalled Six-Party Talks, saying it was "part of regular exchanges to mark the 60th anniversary of the two countries formally establishing diplomatic ties".
"The two sides will exchange views on bilateral ties and issues of common interest," Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said at a media briefing.
But the Foreign Ministry added in a statement that positive signs were seen in August, suggesting tension had eased on the Korean Peninsula.
The DPRK has made a series of conciliatory gestures during the past month that analysts interpreted as an attempt to re-engage with the outside world.
Last Saturday, it released four Republic of Korea (ROK) fishermen who were detained last month after their boat strayed into northern waters. DPRK and ROK also agreed to hold reunions for families separated by the 1950-53 war, which was widely said to "be a new watershed in improving inter-Korean relations".
"We hope that all sides concerned will grasp the opportunity so that the situation will develop with better prospects," the statement said.
Late last month, Chinese nuclear envoy, Wu Dawei, visited Pyongyang, a move that analysts thought was aimed at encouraging DPRK to return to the Six-Party Talks.