Former US President Jimmy Carter and three other former world leaders belonging to a group called "The Elders" arrived in the North Korean capital Pyeongyang on Tuesday morning.
Speaking at a press conference in Beijing on Monday, Carter and his associates said they hoped to ease tensions on the Korean peninsula, while also addressing North Korea's nuclear program and the severe food shortages there.
And during their meeting with Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi later the same day, Beijing's top diplomat stressed the need and urgency in resuming the six-party nuclear talks, calling on "The Elders" to actively mediate between the two Koreas.
But, it is still unclear whether the ex-leaders will meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong-il during their three-day trip.
Meanwhile, Korean Foreign Minister Kim Sung-hwan remains skeptical of the visit saying that he will meet with the members of the delegation later this week, but does not expect much from the visit because it is a "purely private one."
[Interview : Kim Sung-hwan, Korea's Foreign Minister] "Personally, I don't see why North Korea would send a message through a third party or civilians when various channels for dialogue are open, including the North Korean media."
The group is scheduled to travel to Seoul on Thursday to brief the South Korean government on their trip to Pyeongyang.
Oh Jee-hyun, Arirang News.