China said that six-party talks were more suitable than the U.N. Security Council for solving the nuclear standoff on the Korean peninsula, a senior Chinese diplomat said on Friday, days before a summit with President Barack Obama.

Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Cui Tiankai made the comments in Beijing ahead of President Hu Jintao's state visit from next Tuesday to Friday, including a summit with President Barack Obama on Wednesday.

Cui, who was speaking at a forum hosted by the foreign mininstry, also said that China was still not very clear on the state of North Korea's claimed uranium enrichment programme.

He reiterated that China remains committed to the denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula.

Obama is likely to urge Hu to increase pressure on his ally North Korea, which triggered regional alarm by shelling a South Korean island and by claiming progress in uranium enrichment, which could give it a second pathway to making nuclear weapons.

The North has appealed almost daily for talks since the start of the year, but the U.S. side has called on Pyongyang to make concrete gestures that it is serious about negotiations.

Pyongyang walked out of the aid-for-disarmament talks with the South, United States, Russia, Japan and China in 2008.