South Korean President Moon Jae-in on Sunday named his top security adviser as a special envoy to North Korea.
Chung Eui-yong, head of the presidential National Security Office, will head a five-member delegation to the communist state that is set to leave for Pyongyang on Wednesday.
The delegation includes Suh Hoon, chief of the National Intelligence Service (NIS); Vice Unification Minister Chun Hae-sung; Yun Kun-young, presidential secretary for state affairs; and Kim Sang-gyun, a senior NIS official.
It will be Chung's second trip to North Korea in less than six months as he headed the same five-member delegation to Pyongyang in early March.
"The reason the delegation consists of the same officials from the first delegation is because the government considered the importance of continuity in dialogue with North Korea in achieving the objective of the North Korea trip," Kim Eui-kyeom, a spokesman for the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae, told a press briefing.
The South Korean delegation will fly to the North Korean capital, using a direct route across the inter-Korean border. They will return home on the same day, the spokesman added.
During their first trip to North Korea from March 5-6, the South Korean delegates met with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
Their meeting with Kim was what later led to Moon's first-ever summit with Kim, held in the border village of Panmunjom on April 27.
The upcoming trip by the South Korean delegates is again aimed at arranging what would be a third Moon-Kim summit, already scheduled to be held in Pyongyang this month.
Whether they will be able to meet with the North Korean leader during their one-day trip to Pyongyang this time is not clear, the Cheong Wa Dae spokesman said.
Moon and Kim held their second bilateral summit on May 26, followed by Kim's historic summit with U.S. President Donald Trump in Singapore on June 12.
The visit by the South Korean officials also comes amid an apparent impasse in the denuclearization talks between the United States and North Korea.
Trump earlier called off a scheduled North Korea trip by his top diplomat, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, citing what he called a lack of progress in the denuclearization process.
North Korea is said to have demanded a timely quid pro quo for its denuclearization efforts while the U.S. has repeatedly vowed to maintain maximum sanctions on the impoverished North until it completely denuclearizes.
Cheong Wa Dae officials have highlighted the importance of Moon's scheduled trip to North Korea and his meeting with the North Korean leader in kick-starting the denuclearization process. (yonhap)