UN’s Feltman didn’t meet Kim in Pyongyang

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UN’s Feltman didn’t meet Kim in Pyongyang

Wrapping up a four-day visit to North Korea, Jeffrey Feltman, the United Nations’ undersecretary for political affairs, arrived in Beijing on Saturday, but it appeared that he failed to meet with leader Kim Jong-un.

Feltman, the highest UN official to visit the North since 2010, met with Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho and Vice Foreign Minister Pak Myong-guk, the UN said in a statement issued after Feltman’s arrival in Beijing.

The North’s state-run Korean Central News Agency also confirmed that he met with Pak on Wednesday and Russian Ambassador to North Korea Alexander Matsegora and Ri on Thursday.

The report said Feltman visited a children’s food factory and a medical center in Pyongyang on Friday. No mention of a meeting with Kim was reported.

“Time is of the essence,” Feltman said in a note to journalists issued by the UN.

The note also said he and North Korean officials “agreed that the current situation is the most tense and dangerous peace and security issue in the world today.”

While in Pyongyang, Feltman noted “the urgent need to prevent miscalculations and open channels to reduce the risks of conflict, underlining that the international community is committed to the achievement of a peaceful solution to the situation on the Korean Peninsula.”

Despite anticipation in Seoul, the UN envoy did not visit South Korea after the trip, as his predecessor did. When B. Lynn Pascoe visited North Korea in 2010, he stopped at the Incheon International Airport and gave a separate debriefing to the South Korean government. At the time, he met with the South’s chief nuclear negotiator, Wi Sung-lac.

BY KANG TAE-HWA [ser.myoja@joongang.co.kr]

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