"A delegation of the Foreign Ministry of the DPRK led by Vice Minister Ri Kil-song left here Thursday to visit China," the Korean Central News Agency said. DPRK stands for the North's official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.
Ri arrived at a Beijing airport on an Air Koryo flight, according to a source.
Chinese ministry spokesman Lu Kang said the two countries will discuss bilateral relations and issues of mutual concern during Ri's visit.
The senior diplomat's trip raised speculation that the North's leader could visit Beijing on his way back to Pyongyang after his summit in Vietnam, which took place on Wednesday and Thursday.
Yet, as the Trump-Kim summit ended without a deal, Kim could head directly back home but send his top aide, Kim Yong-chol, to brief Chinese President Xi Jinping on the summit outcome.
The North Korean leader arrived in Vietnam on Tuesday after a 66-hour train trip through China. He will stay in the Southeast Asian nation until Saturday for an "official goodwill" visit.
Trump flew back to Washington DC after holding a press conference on the two-day summit. (Yonhap)