Senior UN official meets with N. Korea's vice foreign minister

07 December, 2017, 03:01 | Author: Jason Torres
  • North Korea crisis: UN political chief in rare visit to Pyongyang

Although Feltman does not represent the United States, hopes are high that visits by him or other diplomats, a senior Chinese official visited last month, might help relieve tensions that have been growing amid threats and taunts between Pyongyang and Washington.

Jeffrey Feltman, undersecretary general for political affairs, will travel to Pyongyang Tuesday to discuss "issues of mutual interest and concern" with North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho and others, United Nations spokesman Stephane Dujarric said.

Feltman's visit will come a week after North Korea test-fired a new intercontinental ballistic missile apparently capable of striking the entire USA mainland.

The five-day Vigilant Ace drill involves 230 aircraft, including F-22 Raptor stealth jet fighters, and tens of thousands of troops, Seoul's air force said.

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

The most senior American to visit North Korea in an official capacity recently was James R. Clapper, who as director of national intelligence traveled to Pyongyang in late 2014 to secure the release of two American citizens.

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Feltman's predecessor, Lynn Pascoe, visited the North in 2010.

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A Cathay Pacific crew flying from San Francisco to Hong Kong said they spotted what they believed was the missile, with one airline official saying the crew described seeing it "blow up and fall apart".

Feltman's visit comes less than a week after Pyongyang announced it had successfully test fired a new intercontinental ballistic missile that can reach the USA mainland.

North Korean officials rarely brief the media on the content of discussions with foreign dignitaries.

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