North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's special envoy has wrapped up a visit to Beijing, after a series of meetings with Chinese officials, in which he maintained that Pyongyang wants to solve problems on the Korean peninsula with dialogue.
Choe Ryong Hae, a top officer in North Korea's military, met Friday with Fan Changlong, vice chairman of China's Central Military Commission, in Beijing.
Chinese official media is reporting that Choe told Fan North Korea is willing to accept Beijing's proposal to open up dialogue.
Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hong Lei told reporters North Korea hopes to improve economic development and wants to create a peaceful external environment.
Relations between the two countries have weakened since North Korea's nuclear test in February and China's support of U.N. sanctions in response to the test. Choe's visit is the first high-level contact between Beijing and Pyongyang in six months. His visit follows an announcement of a U.S. - China summit in California in early June.
Food shortages also may have influenced the timing of Choe's visit. South Korean media have reported on a growing famine in North Korea, with Pyongyang asking Mongolia for food aid last week.