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UN Political Chief to Visit N. Korea

UN Political Chief to Visit N. Korea

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.

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).

From Dec. 5 to 8, Feltman, a former U.S. State Department official, will meet a number of officials including Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho, United Nations spokesman Stephane Dujarric told reporters.

Feltman is now in Beijing reinforcing contacts with Chinese authorities.

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Invited by North Korea to spend three days in Pyongyang, Feltman will engage in "policy dialogue" on a wide range of topics with senior DPRK officials. Twelve thousand service members and 230 aircraft, including stealth fighters and bombers, are participating in the drills, during which allied air assets will conduct simulated strikes on hundreds of mock North Korean targets, such as nuclear and missile sites, as well as mobile missiles. The visit was first said to have been discussed on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in September, but not confirmed until recently.

The U.S. apparently signaled approval of Feltman's trip and presumably is keeping an eye out for the North's response.

US President Donald Trump has engaged in months of tit-for-tat rhetoric with Kim, pejoratively dubbing him "Little Rocket Man" and a "sick puppy". Countries including the U.S., Japan and South Korea are watching to see what the North will ask of the U.N.as a mediator to gauge how well the sanctions are working.


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