A group of former US government officials and US experts on Asia headed to North Korea on Tuesday for talks with the country's officials.
Stephen Bosworth, former US ambassador to South Korea, told reporters at Beijing's international airport that delegation members do not yet know who they will meet in North Korea, but they expect to have a "general conversation" with the North Koreans.
The delegation, which will travel to the North Korean capital Pyongyang by air, is expected to stay in the country until Saturday.
The group also includes former US Assistant Secretary of State Morton Abramowitz as well as Jonathan Pollack, a professor of Asian and Pacific studies at the Naval War College.
The trip to Pyongyang is the first by a group of US experts since the inauguration of US President Barack Obama last month.
It comes at a time when the six-party talks for denuclearising North Korea remain stalled over differences on ways to verify Pyongyang's nuclear information.