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United Nations envoy not carrying U.S. government message on North Korea visit

United Nations envoy not carrying U.S. government message on North Korea visit

Feltman, a former U.S. State Department official, is the first senior United Nations official to travel to North Korea since then-humanitarian chief Valerie Amos visited in 2011.

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 US and South Korea began joint military exercises condemned by North Korea's leader Kim Jong-un.

AFP journalists saw Feltman arrive in a UN-flagged vehicle at the Chinese capital's global airport in the morning.His trip comes a day after the United States and South Korea launched their biggest-ever joint air exercise -manoeuvres slammed by Pyongyang as an "all-out provocation".

Though Feltman previously worked for the State Department, he is not representing the US government. "The visit follows an invitation from the DPRK for a policy dialogue with the United Nations". 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.

During his four-day trip, Feltman will reportedly meet United Nations staff and foreign diplomats in the North and visit the sites of United Nations programs.

Over the weekend, Pyongyang countered that Washington was "begging for nuclear war" as the North blasted the joint US- South Korean drills.

Mr. Feltman's visit to North Korea has added significance because he is expected to travel to China as well as Japan, which covers the three most important countries in the region that play a crucial role in this geopolitical crisis. It wasn't clear what progress, if any, was made during that visit to ease a rift that has also been widening between Beijing and Pyongyang.


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