United Nations faces uphill course to broker North Korea talks

UN Political Chief to Visit N. Korea

United Nations faces uphill course to broker North Korea talks

Feltman will also meet with the heads of various U.N. humanitarian programs operating in North Korea, including UNICEF, the World Health Organization, and the U.N. Population Fund.

The unusual visit by Jeffrey Feltman, which begins Tuesday and runs to Friday, comes less than a week after North Korea test-fired an intercontinental ballistic missile believed capable of reaching the United States.

Jeffrey Feltman, undersecretary-general for political affairs, traveled to Pyongyang in response to an invitation by the North for a policy dialogue with the U.N. He is expected to meet with officials including Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho.

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 USA and South Korea began joint military exercises condemned by North Korea's leader Kim Jong-un. Twelve thousand service members and 230 aircraft, including stealth fighters and bombers, are participating in the drills, during which allied air assets will conduct simulated strikes on hundreds of mock North Korean targets, such as nuclear and missile sites, as well as mobile missiles.

Feltman, a former American diplomat who spent more than three decades at the U.S. Department of State, is the first senior United Nations official to visit the secretive North Korean state since former Emergency Relief Coordinator Valerie Amos did so in 2011, CNN reported.

In a separate message to staff, Cathay general manager Mark Hoey said the crew described seeing the missile "blow up and fall apart", The South China Morning Post reported.

But the basic strategy of President Donald Trump's administration on North Korea remains maximum pressure, mainly via economic sanctions.

Tokyo's parliament yesterday slammed the North's weapons programme as an "imminent threat".

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