SEOULNorth Korea is preparing to launch a government agency charged with pushing for the opening up of the reclusive communist nation to the outside world, a South Korean lawmaker said Wednesday.

Rep. Ha Tae-keung of the minor opposition Bareunmirae Party made the remark in a Facebook message posted during his visit to Beijing, citing information obtained when he visited the Institute for International Strategies of China's Central Party School.

"I heard that senior officials of North Korea's Workers' Party visited China's Central Party School last month and said they were preparing (to establish a) 'DPRK Opening Supervisory Bureau,'" Ha said.

Dozens of North Korean officials are scheduled to undergo training in the Chinese city of Dalian before the end of the year to learn about China's reform and opening up, and a greater number of North Korean officials are scheduled to take such sessions next year, the lawmaker said.

"Is North Korea going to begin denuclearization in earnest?" Ha asked.

Ha said that such training sessions suggest that there could be a package deal involving denuclearization and sanctions relief next year.

Source: Yonhap News Agency