Published: Thu, December 07, 2017
Global | By Enrique Rogers

United Nations official to arrive in N.Korea for talks

United Nations official to arrive in N.Korea for talks

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un talking to soldiers during his visit to an artillery unit.

A senior United Nations official arrived in North Korea today for a rare visit aimed at defusing soaring tensions over Pyongyang's nuclear weapons programme.

On Monday, the USA and South Korea launched their biggest-ever joint air exercise - maneuvers slammed by Pyongyang as an "all-out provocation". 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.

United Nations spokesman Stephane Dujarric said they do not expect to update the media on Feltman's visit until it is concluded.

"If the diplomatic effort is successful, then they will certainly be able to exercise some persuasion". In response, U.S. President Donald Trump had threatened more unilateral sanctions, but so far, no resolution from the UN Security Council has been forthcoming.

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Feltman is the first person in his position to visit Pyongyang since 2010.

In recent years, Pyongyang has accelerated its drive to bring together nuclear and missile technology capable of threatening the U.S., which it accuses of hostility.

In a speech to the U.N. General Assembly in September, Trump threatened "to totally destroy North Korea" if the forced to defend itself or its allies and he later tweeted that Kim — whom he called "little rocket man" — "won't be around much longer".

Japan's U.N. Ambassador Koro Bessho said the meeting will focus on finding peaceful ways to pressure North Korea to halt its nuclear and ballistic missile tests and denuclearize the Korean peninsula.

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