Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's national security adviser, Shotaro Yachi, and China's top diplomat, Yang Jiechi, have agreed to work together toward denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula, the Foreign Ministry said amid an apparent warming in inter-Korean ties.

During talks in Beijing, Yachi and State Councilor Yang also confirmed the importance of turning the East China Sea into a sea of "peace, cooperation and friendship," the ministry said Friday.

The meeting with Yang, regarded as a key official in charge of the "Great Power Diplomacy" under President Xi Jinping, took place amid a nascent thaw between the two Koreas following Pyongyang's decision to take part in the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics in South Korea.