Kim Hyong-ryong, the North's vice defense minister, was seen arriving earlier in the day at the Beijing international airport on an Air Koryo flight from Pyongyang.
The trip appears aimed at Kim attending Xiangshan Forum, a regional security forum, to be held in Beijing from Sunday through Tuesday.
China has held the forum every year since 2014 to counter the Asia Security Forum, better known as the Shangri-La Dialogue, which is led by western countries.
South Korea reportedly plans to send an official to the forum, raising the possibility of a meeting between the two Koreas on the sidelines of the event. (Yonhap)