China reportedly is suggesting that multinational talks on North Korea's nuclear program should evolve into a permanent regional security forum.

Japan's Asahi newspaper says Beijing included the regional-security forum in a proposal for a comprehensive settlement of the international dispute over North Korea's nuclear program, in particular, Pyongyang's efforts to assemble an arsenal of nuclear weapons.

China's proposal was widely discussed at the most recent round of negotiations with North Korea, but no joint statement was issued before the six-party talks adjourned without progress earlier this month. The talks are due to resume soon, but no date has been been set by the two Koreas, the United States, Japan, China and Russia.

Sunday's editions of the Asahi newspaper say Japan, the United States and South Korea expressed support for China's position at the recent negotiations in Beijing. China's draft proposal called for a nuclear weapons-free Korean peninsula, for North Korea to normalize its diplomatic ties with the United States and Japan, and for the North to receive energy assistance and security guarantees.

Some information for this report provided by AFP and Reuters.