UN Chief to Visit N. Korea

UN Chief to Visit N. KoreaUN Chief to Visit N. Korea

After a rare diplomatic overture by Pyongyang, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is due to visit North Korea this week. A previous visit planned earlier this year was cancelled at the last minute.

Quoting a United Nations source, South Korea’s Yonhap news agency said Ban would visit the north Asian country this week, adding that the trip would likely provide significant momentum to resolve issues on the Korean Peninsula.

But the source said the UN chief would meet North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un during the trip to Pyongyang, becoming the first head of the world body to set foot in the isolated state for more than 20 years, AFP reported.

Some analysts say the cancellation was seen as a response to comments Ban made in Seoul warning the North against raising tensions on the divided peninsula. The two countries signed an accord last summer to prevent a further escalation of animosity.

Two UN secretary-generals have visited the Hermit Kingdom in the past—Kurt Waldheim in 1979 and, in 1993, Boutros Boutros-Ghali who met with then-leader Kim Il Sung to discuss tensions over North Korea’s nuclear ambitions.

But Ban has previously visited the North when he was South Korea’s foreign minister. He crossed the border in 2006 to visit the joint industrial zone of Kaesong with a delegation of foreign diplomats.