A senior North Korean nuclear negotiator unexpectedly arrived Tuesday in Beijing, with diplomatic sources saying he is apparently on his way to Mongolia.
Ri Yong Ho, North Korea's chief negotiator for the long-stalled six-party talks aimed at ending Pyongyang's nuclear ambitions, refrained from speaking to reporters at Beijing's international airport upon his arrival.
Ri, who arrived in the Chinese capital from Pyongyang, is expected to leave for Mongolia in the next couple of days, according to diplomatic and other sources. But the purpose of his visit is unknown.
Mongolia has close relations with North Korea.
North Korea, which has called for resumption of the aid-for-disarmament talks without preconditions, threatened in March to conduct a new-form nuclear test.
The six-party talks, chaired by China and involving Japan, South Korea, Russia and the United States, have been deadlocked since 2008.
Last October, Mongolian President Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj visited North Korea, becoming the first foreign head of state to do so since Kim Jong Un took power after the death of his father and longtime ruler Kim Jong Il in December 2011.