Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda said Sunday that he and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao will work together to promote stability in North Korea after the death of longtime leader Kim Jong Il.

Noda’s first official visit to Beijing would normally have centered on bilateral issues, such as islands claimed by both countries, but the death of Kim and the announcement of his son Kim Jong Eun as the country’s “supreme leader” shifted the focus.

Noda emphasized the need to get the stalled six-party talks on North Korea’s nuclear program back on track. “We are currently facing a new situation in East Asia,” said Noda, who came to power in September. “Safeguarding the peace and stability of the Korean Peninsula is in the common interest of our two countries.”

The six-party talks, which include the two Koreas, the United States, Russia, China and Japan, are aimed at disarming North ­Korea of its nuclear capability. Pyongyang walked out of the talks in 2009 but now wants to re­engage.

Japan does not have diplomatic relations with North Korea, while China supplies the impoverished country with food aid and much of its energy resources.

Associated Press