United Nations political chief Feltman to visit N. Korea

United Nations political chief Feltman to visit N. Korea

The U.N. political chief is heading to North Korea on a rare visit at the invitation of the government for a wide-ranging discussion on policy issues "of mutual concern".

Dujarric said Feltman was invited informally in September and the visit was confirmed November 30.

A United Nations spokesman told reporters that Mr Feltman will be meeting senior officials including foreign minister Ri Yong-ho.

The last visit by a senior United Nations official was when Valerie Amos, then the UN's aid chief, travelled there in October 2011.

Feltman's visit will come a week after North Korea test-fired a new intercontinental ballistic missile apparently capable of striking anywhere on the USA mainland.

"It is imperative that the countries of the world present North Korea with a unified, unambiguous response to its unlawful provocations".

The official said the U.S. focus remained on finding a peaceful diplomatic solution to the crisis, but "the reality is that the regime has shown no interest in credible negotiations".

South Korea's unification ministry also voiced hope that Feltman's trip could help the North change its course.

North Korea has been under United Nations sanctions since 2006 over its missile and nuclear programs.

Feltman has said he met North Korean Ambassador to the United Nations Ja Song Nam after Pyongyang test-fired an intercontinental missile last Wednesday.

"The visit is a response to a long-standing invitation from the authorities in Pyongyang for policy dialogue with the UN", UN spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said Monday, stating that the invitation was extended on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly meeting in September.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has expressed his willingness to serve as a mediator to resolve the problem of North Korea's nuclear and missile programs.