The first meeting between North and South Korean officials in nearly two years has taken place unexpectedly in the South Korean capital Seoul.
A spy chief said to be close to the North's leader Kim Jong-il met Seoul's Unification Minister Hyun In-taek.
South Korean President Lee Myung-bak was considering meeting the Northern delegates, who have said they want better relations on the peninsula.
They were in Seoul to pay respects to late ex-President Kim Dae-jung.
The Northern official in charge of inter-Korean relations, Kim Yang-gon, said there was an urgent need to improve the frosty relations between the two countries.
"After meeting with several people [in the South], I felt the imperative need for North-South relations to improve," Mr Kim said ahead of his talks with Mr Hyun.
President Lee's office said he was being briefed by Mr Hyun on the meeting with the delegation and was considering a meeting with them.