UN Political Chief to Visit N. Korea

Frederick Owens
December 6, 2017

It'll be the first time a senior United Nations official has visited the reclusive state since the former United Nations aid chief, Valerie Amos, visited in October 2011 and it comes as tensions have been renewed after Pyongyang test fired its latest, most powerful ballistic missile yet last week. They are expected to discuss a wide range of issues.

An official from the South Korean government welcomed the move, saying that the government hopes this opportunity leads North Korea to open dialogue with the worldwide community.

An official of the USA state department said it was "aware" of the planned trip when asked if Washington backed the visit, reported Reuters.

Though Feltman previously worked for the State Department, he is not representing the USA government.

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Seoul has maintained a two-track policy of enforcing stringent sanctions on North Korea, in response to its provocations, while keeping a door open for dialogue and humanitarian assistance.

A United Nations delegation led by UN under-secretary-general for political affairs Jeffrey Feltman, arrived here Tuesday afternoon for a four-day visit to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK). Feltman's predecessor, Lynn Pascoe, visited the North in 2010.

Over the weekend, Pyongyang countered that Washington was "begging for nuclear war" as the North blasted the joint US- South Korean drills.

Trump announced on November 20 that the United States was returning North Korea to the list of state sponsors of terrorism and promised to intensify a campaign of "maximum pressure" and sanctions as part of a rolling effort to compel Kim's government to negotiate over its nuclear program. It wasn't clear what progress, if any, was made during that visit to ease a rift that has also been widening between Beijing and Pyongyang.

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