Senior UN official meets North Korea 's deputy foreign minister

Jeffrey Feltman UN under secretary general for political affairs

The U.S. apparently signaled approval of Feltman's trip and presumably is keeping an eye out for the North's response. He was tapped by former Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to be the United Nations political chief in 2012 after serving for almost 30 years in the U.S. Foreign Service, where his last post was as assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs.

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

Feltman's trip marks the first high-ranking visit to the North by a United Nations official since his predecessor Lynn Pascoe traveled there in February 2010 and former United Nations humanitarian chief Valerie Amos visited the North in October 2011.

Stephane Dujarric, spokesman for U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, said only that the visit will involve "wide-ranging policy discussion".

Feltman's visit comes less than a week after Pyongyang announced it had successfully test fired a new intercontinental ballistic missile that can reach the US mainland.

United Nations begins four-day visit to North Korea amid rising nuclear tensions

Feltman's visit comes amid high tensions on the Korean Peninsula.

Jeffrey Feltman's visit - the first by a UN diplomat of his rank since 2010 - comes less than a week after North Korea said it test-fired a new ballistic missile capable of reaching the United States.

The U.N. earlier said Feltman will discuss "issues of mutual interest and concern" with North Korean government officials. But he said the invitation wasn't issued until November 30.

It will be Feltman's first visit to North Korea since he took office five years ago. Former humanitarian chief Valerie Amos also visited the country in October 2011, and the current head of the U.N. World Food Program, David Beasley, told The Associated Press last month that he plans to visit.

Six U.N. agencies, with approximately 50 worldwide staff, are represented in North Korea.

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