Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao arrived in North Korea Sunday on a highly anticipated state visit.
China's official Xinhua news agency said North Korean leader Kim Jong Il greeted Mr. Wen at Pyongyang's airport.
Mr. Wen's 3-day visit comes amid signs the North may be willing to restart dialogue about its nuclear program, following months of resistance.
Mr. Kim has expressed a willingness to engage in bilateral and multilateral talks, although it is not clear if that indicates a willingness to rejoin six-nation talks with China, Russia, South Korea, Japan and the United States.
Last week, U.S. Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg said in Seoul that North Korea has recently shown that it understands the value of re-engagement.
China is the North's biggest source of economic aid and diplomatic support, and Mr. Wen's visit could be key to pushing the resumption of the six-nation talks.
Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.