Sunday, 17 December, 2017

Senior North Korean diplomat meets United Nations political affairs chief

Jeffrey Feltman speaks during a news conference in Colombo Sri Lanka Jeffrey Feltman speaks during a news conference in Colombo Sri Lanka
Lisa Bryan | 07 December, 2017, 03:00

The political chief will also visit various United Nations officials and missions operating in the reclusive state.

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.

The UN Security Council has hit the isolated and impoverished North with a package of sanctions over its increasingly powerful missile and nuclear tests, which have rattled Washington and its regional allies South Korea and Japan.

Stephane Dujarric, spokesman for U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, said only that the visit will involve "wide-ranging policy discussion". The launch heightened tensions between the North and the United States, highlighted by months of insults between the regime and President Donald Trump.

The visit came as tensions further escalate on the Korean Peninsula following the latest ballistic missile launch by DPRK and an on-going U.S.


Feltman's visit comes as Guterres prepares to brief a U.N. Security Council ministerial meeting on December 15 about North Korea that was called by Japan, which holds the council presidency this month.

The U.N. earlier said Feltman will discuss "issues of mutual interest and concern" with North Korean government officials.

Dujarric said Pyongyang issued an invitation for Feltman to visit back in September, during the annual gathering of world leaders at the U.N. General Assembly. But he said the invitation wasn't issued until November 30.

Feltman's predecessor, Lynn Pascoe, visited the North in 2010. The UN operates six agencies with 50 worldwide staff in North Korea to provide food, agriculture and health aid to its malnourished population.

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