Chinese President Hu Jintao has invited Democratic People's Republic of Korea's (DPRK) top leader Kim Jong-il for a visit as Pyongyang has reached out to its foes and signalled it could return to dormant nuclear talks hosted by Beijing.
The invitation, made to a visiting official of the DPRK's ruling Workers' Party, Choe Thae-bok, came in a meeting on Wednesday where the two countries pledged to strengthen ties as they celebrate 60 years of alliance.
"At the meeting, comrade Hu Jintao asked Choe Thae-bok to convey his invitation to General Secretary Kim Jong-il to visit China at a time convenient to him," the DPRK's official KCNA news agency said on Thursday.
Kim said during a visit to Pyongyang by Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao earlier this month that his country would be willing to return to the six-way disarmament talks, but after holding direct talks with long-time adversary the United States.
A senior DPRK nuclear envoy is in the United States and meeting State Department officials on the sidelines of academic seminars. The meetings may be a prelude to a visit to Pyongyang by senior US nuclear envoys, analysts said.