Senior UN official to visit North Korea this week

UN Political Chief to Visit N. Korea

UN Political Chief to Visit N. Korea

Once in the North, Feltman will discuss "issues of mutual interest and concern" with officials, United Nations spokesman Stephane Dujarric said, adding he was unable to say whether Feltman will meet with the reclusive state's leader Kim Jong-Un.

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. They are expected to discuss a wide range of issues.

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Feltman's trip marks the first high-ranking visit to the North by a United Nations official since his predecessor Lynn Pascoe traveled there in February 2010 and former United Nations humanitarian chief Valerie Amos visited the North in October 2011.

North Korea conducted its third intercontinental ballistic missile test last Tuesday, demonstrating a theoretical ability to strike targets across all of the continental U.S. In response, the South carried out precision strike missile drills involving all three main branches of the South Korean military. Previously he served as USA assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs. "The visit follows an invitation from the DPRK for a policy dialogue with the United Nations".

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Feltman's visit comes amid high tensions on the Korean Peninsula. Countries including the U.S., Japan and South Korea are watching to see what the North will ask of the a mediator to gauge how well the sanctions are working.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and U.S. President Donald Trump, meanwhile, have traded insults and engaged in escalating rhetoric in recent months. It wasn't clear what progress, if any, was made during that visit to ease a rift that has also been widening between Beijing and Pyongyang.

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