"North Korea has agreed to a new round early next year," Wang said on the Phoenix television channel seen in Beijing, after returning from a trip to Pyongyang.

"Precise dates have to be discussed among the six parties concerned," he said, adding "the talks need further preparations".

A first round of talks, in which China was represented by Wang, ended inconclusively in Beijing in August, with North Korea later dismissing the negotiations as "useless".

A second round of six-party talks -- comprising China, the United States, the two Koreas, Russia and Japan -- had been expected to be held in Beijing earlier this month.

Meanwhile, South Korea's Yonhap news agency said senior officials from China, Japan and South Korea would hold talks in Seoul Sunday to formulate strategy for the new round of negotiations.