United Nations envoy meets North Korean overseas minister

US Air Force F-16 fighter jets fly over the Osan US Air Base in Pyeongtaek South Korea Monday Dec. 4
Credit Ahn Young-joon  AP

The United States and South Korea conducted large-scale military drills this week, which the North said have made the outbreak of war "an established fact".

North Korea and the United Nations have agreed to communicate regularly.

The meeting between Jeffrey Feltman and Ri Yong-ho took place barely a week after North Korea launched its most sophisticated intercontinental ballistic missile to date, an action that may lead to a new round of UN Security Council sanctions, Efe news reported.

State media said Feltman's visit "contributed to deepening the understanding between the DPRK and the U.N. Secretariat".

Though the North's state media are prone to publishing alarmist rhetoric, North Korean authorities have regularly criticized the United Nations for its sanctions resolutions, insisting Pyongyang has the sovereign right to test missiles, nuclear devices and launch satellites.

The UN continues to operate in North Korea, with programmes providing food, agricultural and health aid but the last visit by a senior official was back in 2011.


North Korean state media earlier said current tensions were "entirely ascribable to the U.S. hostile policy".

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and U.S. President Donald Trump, meanwhile, have traded insults and engaged in escalating rhetoric in recent months.

North Korea is also concerned about the effects global sanctions have had on the delivery of humanitarian aid.

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

According to the KCNA, Feltman recognised global sanctions against North Korea are having a negative influence on humanitarian aid there. The North recently launched its most advanced missile to date and the US and South Korea are now holding joint exercises with some of the world's most powerful fighter aircraft.

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