Published: Thu, December 07, 2017
World | By Melba Underwood

United Nations envoy arrives in North Korea as nuclear tensions soar

United Nations envoy arrives in North Korea as nuclear tensions soar

United Nations spokesman Stephane Dujarric said Monday that Feltman will discuss "issues of mutual interest and concern" with Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho and Vice Minister Pak Myong Guk during his visit, which ends on Friday.

Feltman is the highest-ranking American in the U.N. Secretariat.

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

Kim and U.S. President Donald Trump have traded insults and engaged in escalating rhetoric in recent months.

On Monday, he met Chinese Deputy Foreign Minister Li Baodong, and from Beijing he will go directly to the North Korean capital.

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

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China, which is Pyongyang's sole major diplomatic and military ally, has called on the United States to freeze military drills and North Korea to halt weapons tests to calm tensions.

Asked whether Feltman would be preparing for a follow-on visit to Pyongyang by UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, the spokesman only said that Guterres has always been ready to undertake a "good offices" mission if necessary.

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.

Dujarric added that Feltman's visit comes in response to an invitation that has been pending for some time, and which aims to maintain a dialogue between Pyongyang and the UN. But he said the invitation wasn't issued until November 30.

He also said that there were no plans for Guterres to visit North Korea, though next week he will make an official visit to Japan.

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