China said it has expressed concern to North Korea about its plan to launch a long-range rocket, as a North Korean nuclear envoy arrived in Beijing on Saturday for talks.
Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Zhijun met with North Korea's ambassador to China, Ji Jae Ryong, to voice Beijing's concern over the planned launch, the official Xinhua News Agency reported.
It said Zhang told the ambassador that China hopes all parties will remain calm, exercise restraint and avoid escalating tensions in the region.
North Korea announced Friday that it plans to blast a satellite into space next month to mark the centenary of the birth of its founder, Kim Il Sung. The U.S. says the rocket launch would use the same technology as long-range missiles and would be a "deal-breaker" for a new agreement in which the U.S. pledged to exchange food aid for nuclear concessions.
Senior North Korean nuclear negotiator Ri Yong Ho did not make any comments to reporters when he landed Saturday in Beijing. China's Foreign Ministry had no immediate comment on his visit.
South Korea's Yonhap news agency said Ri will meet with Chinese nuclear negotiator Wu Dawei. It said Ri also visited Russia for talks on ways to resolve the nuclear issue on the Korean peninsula.