BEIJING - North Korea's nuclear ambitions area serious concern for Beijing and should be addressed through further dialogue, a senior Chinese military officer said on Wednesday after talks with Pentagon officials.

Lieutenant-General Ma Xiaotian, speaking at a news conference after two days of talks with U.S. officials led by Under Secretary of Defence Michele Flournoy, said the North Korea issue was a serious concern not just for Japan, the U.S. and South Korea but also for China.

He said China believes that peaceful dialogue is the way to resolve the dispute.

We hope for and encourage positive steps and more stabilising measures regarding North Korea, Ma said.

The United States hopes to pressure North Korea to return to nuclear disarmament talks by tracking its ships in a bid to deter arms shipments banned under a recent United Nations resolution.

Ma said the United States and China had agreed to special consultations to take place in July to address the issue of preventing sea confrontations.

The two sides agreed to work together to avoid such incidents recurring, Ma said, referring to recent skirmishes between Chinese and U.S. vessels in seas off China's coast.

(Reporting by Chris Buckley; Editing by Ken Wills)