United States Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill arrived in Beijing on Friday to discuss the test firing of missiles by North Korea and the UN Security Council's response to Pyongyang's nuclear programmes.
"I don't have much to say right now," Hill told reporters at the airport. Hill, who is also the chief US negotiator in the six-party talks on the North Korean nuclear issue, is scheduled to meet with China's Vice Foreign Minister Wu Dawei to discuss how to promote the six-party talks under current situation.
Hill on Wednesday repeated US calls for China, a major aid donor to North Korea, to exert more to pressure on Pyongyang to dismantle its missile and nuclear programmes.
'We need China to be very, very firm with their neighbours and frankly with their long-term allies on what is acceptable behaviour,' Hill was quoted as saying in media reports.
Hill's visit to Beijing comes after a telephonic conversation between Chinese President Hu Jintao and his American counterpart, George W Bush on the latest missile tests by North Korea.
China and Russia are opposing imposing sanctions by the UNSC on North Korea.
Hu told Bush that China is committed to maintaining peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula and opposed to any actions that might intensify the situation.
"Under such a complicated situation, it is highly necessary for all the related parties to keep calm and show restraint," Hu said.
"China has taken a responsible attitude at the UN Security Council," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said, while rebuffing calls to impose sanctions on North Korea for test-firing missiles.
"We think the Security Council should make a necessary response but the response should be helpful to maintain peace and stability on the Korean peninsula and should help diplomatic efforts," she said.
"Practice tells us dialogue and consultations are effective ways to solve problems," she said when asked whether China would support the UN Security Council imposing sanctions against its closest ally, North Korea.
Wu, China's chief envoy to the six-party talks, would travel to Pyongyang on Monday as part of a high-level delegation to attend celebrations for the 45th anniversary of a friendship treaty between the two countries.
The six-way nuclear talks have been stalled since last year, with North Korea insisting the United States lift sanctions on its companies before they can resume.
Aside from China, the US and North Korea, the other parties are South Korea, Japan and Russia.
Host China has reportedly proposed an unofficial gathering of nuclear envoys from the six parties in the eastern Chinese city of Shenyang, as a prelude to the next round of formal talks in Beijing.