Jeffrey Feltman, the U.N. under secretary-general for political affairs, will meet with North Korean officials, including North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho, to discuss "issues of mutual interest and concern", according to the U.N. He will attempt to defuse growing tensions as North Korea pushes ahead with its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile program.
A senior United Nations official who is visiting North Korea was not carrying a message from the USA government, the State Department said Tuesday. 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".
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 U.S. within range. -South Korea joint air force exercise involving hundreds of fighter jets and tens of thousands of troops.
On Monday, he met Chinese Deputy Foreign Minister Li Baodong, and from Beijing he will go directly to the North Korean capital.
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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 Kim.
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".
On Monday, the US and South Korea launched their biggest-ever joint air exercise - maneuvers slammed by Pyongyang as an "all-out provocation". But Dujarric would not say if Feltman would meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un during his trip.