UN Official Begins Rare Diplomatic Mission to North Korea

UN Official Begins Rare Diplomatic Mission to North Korea

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 US mainland.

U.N. Undersecretary-General for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman, center, poses with two unidentified accompanying colleagues upon arrival at the Pyongyang International Airport in Pyongyang, North Korea, Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2017. Asked about Feltman's visit, a spokesman for the U.S. Mission to the United Nations said that "while our focus remains on finding a peaceful diplomatic solution, the reality is that the regime has shown no interest in credible negotiations". The UN confirmed that he will be staying for four days, and will meet with several senior North Korean officials, including foreign minister, Ri Yong-ho, and vice-minister Pak Myong Guk.

Dujarric said Pyongyang issued an invitation for Feltman to visit back in September, during the annual gathering of world leaders at the U.N. General Assembly.

Pyongyang sent tensions soaring on the Korean Peninsula five days ago when it announced it had successfully test-fired a new ICBM, which it says brings the whole of the continental United States within range.

UN Official Begins Rare Diplomatic Mission to North Korea
UN Official Begins Rare Diplomatic Mission to North Korea

He will also meet with the United Nations Country Team and members of the diplomatic corps, and visit UN project sites in DPRK, according to UN officials.

Analysts say it is unclear whether the missile survived re-entry into the earth's atmosphere or could successfully deliver a warhead to its target - key technological hurdles for Pyongyang.

The U.S. and South Korea started joint military drills Monday.

The visit by Feltman follows the dispatch last month by China of its highest-level envoy to North Korea in two years. Last week's missile landed in Japan's economic waters.

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