The U.S. special envoy for North Korean human rights will visit North Korea on Friday for a two-day stay to secure the release of Korean-American travel agent Kenneth Bae, who has been detained there for six month.
The State Department on Tuesday said Robert King will ask North Korea to "grant [Bae] special amnesty on humanitarian grounds."
Bae was arrested in Rason, North Hamgyong Province in November last year and sentenced to 15 years' hard labor on charges of unspecified "hostile acts" against the regime.
King is expected to travel to Pyongyang via Japan on a U.S. military aircraft and return home on Saturday.
During a visit to Seoul earlier this month, King said he had "no immediate plan" to visit the North, but in fact the plan was reportedly already formed.