Published: Thu, December 07, 2017
Worldwide | By Victor Meyer

Seoul expresses high hopes for United Nations official's Pyongyang trip

Seoul expresses high hopes for United Nations official's Pyongyang trip

The United Nations has dispatched an envoy to North Korea for a rare visit aimed at defusing tensions over Pyongyang's intercontinental ballistic missile launch, as the US and South Korea began joint military exercises condemned by North Korea's leader Kim Jong-un.

North Korea nearly never discloses the details of its discussions with foreign delegations, and the United Nations says it doesn't plan to brief the media until after Feltman, its undersecretary-general for political affairs, completes his four-day visit.

A senior United Nations official who is visiting North Korea was not carrying a message from the USA government, the State Department said Tuesday.

Mr. Feltman will be meeting North Korea's Foreign Minister and Vice President, but it is still not clear whether he will hold talks with North Korea's dictator, Kim Jong Un.

It will be Feltman's first visit to North Korea since he took office five years ago, and the first by a United Nations under-secretary-general in more than seven years.

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This is the first time that a high-ranking UN politico will travel to North Korea since former Under Secretary-General Lynn Pascoe's visit in February 2010 and that of UN Under Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Valerie Amos in 2011.

The spokesman noted that Guterres has repeatedly said "his good offices are always available if the parties want".

In a new editorial today, North Korean state media blasted the joint US-South Korean drills as going "beyond the danger line" adding the two allies were like "a group of tiger moths flying into fire only to perish in it". But he said the invitation wasn't issued until November 30.

Six U.N. agencies, with approximately 50 global staff, are represented in North Korea.

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