UNITED NATIONS – UN Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman will visit North Korea this week to meet with authorities of the Pyongyang regime, the United Nations announced on Monday.
The under-secretary-general will analyze with North Korean authorities “issues of mutual interest and concern,” a United Nations statement said in revealing the visit.
Feltman will be in that country from Tuesday to Friday this week for a wide-ranging discussion of policy issues, for his part said Stephane Dujarric, spokesman for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.
This is the first time that a high-ranking UN politico has traveled to North Korea since Lynn Pascoe’s visit there in February 2010 and that of UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Valerie Amos in 2011.
Since the Pyongyang regime began testing ballistic missiles and nuclear arms in 2006, it has been targeted for criticism by the UN, which has also punished the Asian nation with economic and political sanctions.
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 United Nations.
Feltman is currently in Beijing reinforcing contacts with Chinese authorities. On Monday he met with Chinese Deputy Foreign Minister Li Baodong, and from Beijing he will go directly to the North Korean capital.
The spokesman said that Feltman’s visit was confirmed with Pyongyang authorities last Thursday, and the officials with whom he will meet include North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho.
He will also speak with diplomats accredited in Pyongyang and with the UN team in North Korea, where six United Nations agencies operate with some 500 international civil servants.
Dujarric avoided going into detail about the matters to be discussed in those conversations, only saying that a wide range of subjects would be touched on.
He also said there are no plans for Guterres to visit North Korea, though next week he will make an official visit to Japan.
Feltman’s visit comes after the outrage sparked by the Kim Jong-Un regime for its most recent ballistic missile trial last Tuesday.