SEOUL-- North Korea's foreign minister is expected to join a regional security meeting to be held in the Philippines early next month, a diplomatic source said Wednesday, raising the possibility for an encounter between top diplomats of North and South Korea on the sidelines.

North Korea recently notified the Philippines of the participation of its delegation to be led by Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho in the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) and started the relevant registration process, according to the source.

The ARF, to be held in Manila on Aug. 7, is a regional security forum known to be a rare event joined by the reclusive North along with the other five countries involved in the suspended six-party denuclearization talks on Pyongyang's nuclear program. South Korea, the U.S., Japan, China and Russia usually send their top diplomats to the gathering every year.

South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha plans to attend the ARF and other ASEAN-related meetings. She is also likely to hold bilateral meetings with her counterparts from other participating countries.

South Korea has not denied any possibility of a meeting between Kang and Ri on the sidelines of the ARF. In the same forum held in Laos in July last year, then Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se and Ri just exchanged brief greetings in an unexpected encounter.

The North has stayed mum on the Seoul government's recent offer for military talks to ease tensions along their borders and Red Cross talks to discuss the resumption of reunions of families separated by the 1950-53 Korean War.

Source: Yonhap News Agency