Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho, right, of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) and UN Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman shake hands at the Mansudae Assembly Hall in Pyongyang, Dec 7, 2017. The senior United Nations official arrived in Pyongyang Tuesday for a visit to the country. (JON CHOL-JIN / AP)
PYONGYANG — A senior United Nations official on a rare high-level visit to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) held talks with the DPRK foreign minister on Thursday.
Jeffrey Feltman’s visit comes amid high tensions on the peninsula fanned by tough talk and posturing by Pyongyang and Washington
Jeffrey Feltman, the UN under-secretary-general for political affairs, met with Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho on the second full day of the highest-level UN visit to the DPRK since 2010. He arrived in Pyongyang on Tuesday for a stay expected to last four or five days.
It's not immediately known what the two discussed.
READ MORE: DPRK says US threats make war inevitable
According to DPRK state-run media, Feltman discussed UN assistance and operations in the DPRK along with "other matters of mutual concern" during a meeting with the vice-foreign minister on Wednesday. Six UN agencies, with about 50 international staff, are represented in the DPRK.
The visit by Feltman, an American citizen and former State Department official, comes amid high tensions on the peninsula fanned by tough talk and posturing by Pyongyang and Washington.
The DPRK recently launched its most advanced missile to date and the US and the Republic of Korea (ROK) are now holding joint exercises with some of the world's most powerful fighter aircraft.
Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman, left, meets with Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho, right, of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), at the Mansudae Assembly Hall in Pyongyang, Dec 7, 2017. (JON CHOL-JIN / AP)
DPRK official news agency on Wednesday quoted an unnamed Foreign Ministry spokesman strongly criticizing senior US administration officials' "bellicose remarks" and the ongoing military exercises.
"The remaining question now is: when will the war break out," it said.
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In a speech to the UN General Assembly in September, Foreign Minister Ri defended his country's missile and nuclear programs as a "righteous self-defensive measure" in the face of US hostility and nuclear threats.