Pyongyang, North Korea (December 5, 2012): A senior United Nations official arrived here earlier today for a rare, four-day visit at the invitation of the North Korean government.
According to foreign news agency Undersecretary-General for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman is scheduled to meet Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho, Vice Minister Pak Myong Guk, diplomats and U.N. staff during his stay. They are expected to discuss a wide range of issues.
Feltman, the highest-ranking American in the U.N. Secretariat, is the first person in that post to visit North Korea since February 2010. Though Feltman previously worked for the State Department, he is not representing the U.S. government.
The most senior American to visit North Korea in an official capacity recently was James R. Clapper, who as director of national intelligence traveled to Pyongyang in late 2014 to secure the release of two American citizens.
A delegation headed by State Department Special Representative Joseph Yun flew to Pyongyang to oversee the release of American college student Otto Warmbier in June this year.
Feltman’s visit comes amid high tensions on the Korean Peninsula while the US and South Korean militaries are holding a major air force exercise and just last week Pyongyang test-launched an intercontinental ballistic missile that experts say could hit Washington.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and U.S. President Donald Trump, meanwhile, have traded insults and engaged in escalating rhetoric in recent months.