South Korea's intelligence agency says Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu likely proposed during his visit to Pyongyang in July that Russia and North Korea hold a joint military drill together with China.
The National Intelligence Service presented its analysis at a meeting of a parliamentary committee on Monday.
According to a lawmaker who attended the session, the intelligence agency said it has information that Shoigu made the proposal when he met North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in the country's capital Pyongyang in late July.
It is unknown how the North Korean side responded to the plan.
But earlier on Monday, South Korean evening newspaper Munhwa Ilbo reported that there is a strong prediction that North Korea, China and Russia will conduct three-way naval exercises in the near future.
The intelligence agency also said North Korea will likely continue to instruct forces in South Korea opposing President Yoon Suk-yeol's administration to campaign against Japan's release of treated and diluted water from the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.