United Nations political chief concludes visit to N. Korea

United Nations political chief concludes visit to N. Korea

"I would give an enthusiastic welcome to your Pyongyang visit", Ri, North Korea's former top nuclear negotiator who became foreign minister previous year, told U.N. Undersecretary General for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman.

State media also said Feltman visited a Pyongyang maternity hospital and a "disease prevention" facility, but left out mention of details around his meeting with foreign ministry officials.

The Federation Council press service reported that during the conversation, the Federation Council committee head and the North Korean ambassador to Russia exchanged opinions on the massive drills now conducted by the United States and South Korea, as well as on North Korea's missile nuclear program.

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

The UN official was scheduled to meet other representatives of the North Korean regime to discuss matters of mutual interest and concerns.

U.S. State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert has said Feltman is not visiting Pyongyang on behalf of Washington.

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A flag is pictured outside the Permanent Mission of North Korea in Geneva, Switzerland, November 17, 2017.

North Korea's official news agency on Wednesday quoted an unnamed Foreign Ministry spokesman strongly criticizing senior USA administration officials' "bellicose remarks" and the ongoing military exercises.

North Korea has suggested its readiness to come to the negotiation table if the United States agrees to recognize it as a nuclear weapon state.

"Through the drill, the South Korean and USA air forces displayed the allies' strong intent and ability to punish North Korea when threatened by nuclear weapons and missiles", the South Korean military said in a statement.

His visit comes amid high tensions on the Korean Peninsula following North Korea's intercontinental ballistic missile launch last Wednesday.

"The remaining question now is: when will the war break out", it said.

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