Jan. 16 (UPI) -- The Chinese government confirmed Wednesday a top North Korean official will be visiting the United States following a stopover in Beijing.
Foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said at a regular press briefing vice chairman of the Korean Workers' Party Kim Yong Chol will be boarding a flight bound for the United States from the Chinese capital, Yonhap reported.
Hua did not confirm whether Kim would make contact with Chinese officials.
Kim is staying in China overnight; his flight is leaving Beijing on Thursday afternoon, according to Yonhap.
The North Korea official could arrive in Washington by Thursday, according to CNN.
Kim is likely to meet with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and U.S. special representative on North Korea Steve Biegun on Friday, U.S. sources told CNN.
There are so far no confirmed plans for Kim to visit the White House and meet with President Donald Trump. The two men met in 2018, when they sat down for a two-hour discussion and Kim Yong Chol delivered a large envelope containing a letter from Kim Jong Un.
A White House source told CNN "a lot of positive things are happening" and that Trump and Kim Jong Un have "established a good relationship."
"Conversations between the United States and North Korea continue," the source said.
While North Korea has refrained from provocations, analysts remain wary of Pyongyang's nuclear program and have said engagement is taking place as weapons production is ongoing.
On Monday in New York the former lieutenant general of Japan's Self-Defense Force Koichi Isobe said North Korea has not stopped military developments despite refraining from provocations.
"Kim Jong Un is gaining time to continue developing nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles," Isobe said. "The threat of intermediate ballistic missiles [that can target Japan] still remains."