An EU delegation was heading to Pyongyang on Tuesday for talks aimed at ensuring that North Korea honours a landmark deal to scrap its nuclear arms programme, the German presidency of the bloc said.
"The aim of this trip by the EU troika is to promote the rapid implementation of an agreement reached on February 13 in Beijing," the government said in a statement.
The Stalinist regime agreed to shut down its main nuclear facility and begin steps towards giving up its atomic weapons programme in exchange for aid and moves towards full diplomatic ties with Washington.
The deal was reached in six-way talks with China, Japan, South Korea, Russia and the United States four months after Pyongyang carried out its first nuclear test explosion.
The German government said the EU delegation would emphasise that the six-party talks had to continue to ensure all agreements between North Korea and the international community were implemented in full.
It added that the three-day trip by officials representing Germany, Portugal and EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana was also of "an exploratory nature" as it would inform future ties with Pyongyang.
"The outcome of the visit will provide important guidelines for discussions within the EU as to its future relations with North Korea."
On Monday, the chief North Korean and US nuclear envoys began talks in New York in a first step toward normalising ties under the Beijing accord after half a century of hostility.