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United Nations envoy bound for North Korea as tensions soar

06 December 2017, 12:44 | Darnell Patrick

United Nations envoy bound for North Korea as tensions soar

United Nations envoy bound for North Korea as tensions soar

AFP journalists saw Feltman arrive in a UN-flagged auto at the Chinese capital's worldwide 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".

A United Nations delegation led by UN under-secretary-general for political affairs Jeffrey Feltman (C), arrives in Pyongyang, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), Dec. 5, 2017.

The UN's political chief will visit North Korea this week for talks with officials, amid heightened tensions over the North's latest ballistic missile test.

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.

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Asked about Feltman's visit, a spokesman for the U.S. Mission to the United Nations said that "while our focus remains on finding a peaceful diplomatic solution, the reality is that the regime has shown no interest in credible negotiations".

The five-day Vigilant Ace drill involves 230 aircraft, including F-22 Raptor stealth jet fighters, and tens of thousands of troops, Seoul's air force said.

Analysts say it is unclear whether the missile survived re-entry into the earth's atmosphere or could successfully deliver a warhead to its target - key technological hurdles for Pyongyang.

He said Mr Feltman's trip was in response to an invitation extended by the North Koreans during the UN General Assembly in September. The launch heightened tensions between the North and the United States, highlighted by months of insults between the regime and President Donald Trump.



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