North Korean media say a top official is planning to visit Syria, heightening suspicions that the two countries are cooperating on a secret nuclear program.

In a brief statement Saturday, the official North Korean Central News Agency said the speaker of North Korea's parliament, Choe Thae Bok, has left for a trip that will take him to Italy and Syria. The report gave no other details.

In September, U.S. media reports said Pyongyang has secretly offered nuclear cooperation to Syria, and that the two nations are working on some sort of nuclear facility. Both have denied the allegations.

North Korea conducted a nuclear weapons test last year, but has since been compliant in six-nation talks aimed at ending its nuclear weapons program.

Some information for this report provided by AP and AFP.