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UN political chief Jeffrey Feltman concludes visit to North Korea

Jeffrey Feltman

Pyongyang, Dec 9 (UITV/IANS) - The UN Undersecretary General for Political Affairs, Jeffrey Feltman, on Saturday concluded his five-day visit to North Korea, during which both parties agreed to remain in regular contact.

Feltman arrived in Pyongyang on Tuesday, and during his visit met senior North Korean officials, including Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho, reports Efe news.

Shortly after the UN envoy left Pyongyang for Beijing on Saturday, North Korean media assessed the visit, highlighting the understanding between both sides and insisting that the current crisis in the region is a consequence of US hostility.

North Korea "clarified its principled stand on the issues of ensuring peace of the Korean peninsula and the fairness of the UN", state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said in a report.

"The tense situation of the peninsula is entirely ascribable to the US hostile policy and nuclear threat and blackmail against North Korea.

"US has revealed its scheme to make a surprisingly pre-emptive nuclear strike at the DPRK through the ongoing largest-ever joint aerial drill with all kinds of nuclear strategic bombers involved," the regime led by Kim Jong-un said during meetings with the UN representative.

"The UN delegation expressed its readiness to make a contribution to the relaxation of the tension on the peninsula under the UN Charter which stipulates the mission of the UN based on the guarantee of international peace and security," the report added.

Feltman, who visited several UN-assisted health and food production facilities in North Korea, acknowledged that the sanctions imposed on the country "are negatively affecting the humanitarian assistance" and expressed his intention "to strive for cooperation in keeping with the humanitarian mission", according to KCNA.

Both the UN delegation and the North Korean representatives acknowledged that Feltman's visit contributed to deepening the understanding between North Korea and the UN Secretariat, and both sides agreed to maintain communications through visits at different levels on a regular basis in the future, North Korea's state-owned news agency added.

Feltman's visit began just a week after North Korea launched its most sophisticated intercontinental ballistic missile to date, an action that may lead to new sanctions by the Security Council.

It is the first trip of a UN Political Affairs chief to North Korea since his predecessor, also Lynn Pascoe visited in February 2010.