The Unification Ministry has expressed hope that the upcoming visit to North Korea by the UN’s political chief will provide an opportunity for Pyongyang to take the path toward dialogue.
A ministry official revealed the stance to reporters with regard to a plan by UN Undersecretary-General for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman to travel to Pyongyang on Tuesday for a four-day stay. The UN said that Feltman is set to discuss “issues of mutual interest and concern” with North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho and others.
The official said that UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is said to have expressed interest on several occasions on the world body playing the role of mediator in addressing the North’s nuclear issue.
On conditions for dialogue with Pyongyang, the official said that Seoul has repeatedly stressed that the North’s nuclear issue must be resolved comprehensively and in a step-by-step manner under the principle of seeking a peaceful resolution. The official said that at the present time, the government is focused on sanctioning and pressuring the North to get it to come to the negotiating table.
On the UN World Food Programme suspending its aid for 190-thousand North Korean children, the official said that due to the North’s continued provocations, the international community is becoming increasingly passive about providing aid to the reclusive state, adding that previously-planned donations are not being carried out. The official said that the government hopes that support for the vulnerable will take place smoothly.