UNITED NATIONS/PYONGYANG – The UN’s political chief on Saturday stressed the urgency of reducing tensions on the Korean Peninsula after finishing his four-day visit to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
“There can only be a diplomatic solution to the situation, achieved through a process of sincere dialogue,” UN Undersecretary-General for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman said in a press release, adding that “Time is of the essence.”
Feltman arrived in the DPRK on Tuesday to begin a rare four-day visit at the invitation of Pyongyang, for a “wide-ranging” discussion on policy issues “of mutual interest and concern.”
The highest-level UN official to visit the DPRK in more than six years, Feltman had a series of meetings with Ri Yong-ho, DPRK minister for foreign affairs, and Pak Myong-guk, DPRK vice-minister of foreign affairs, according to the press release.
“They exchanged views on the Korean Peninsula and agreed that the current situation was the most tense and dangerous peace and security issue in the world today,” it said, adding “Mr. Feltman emphasized the need for the full implementation of all relevant Security Council resolutions.”
Noting the urgent need to prevent miscalculations and open channels to reduce the risks of conflict, Feltman underlined that the international community, alarmed by escalating tensions, is committed to the achievement of a peaceful solution to the situation on the Korean Peninsula, the press release said.
During his visit, Feltman also met with the United Nations Country Team and members of the diplomatic corps, and visited UN project sites, including a children’s foodstuff factory, TB prevention institute, breast tumor institute, and paediatric hospital. During the site visits he learned about the UN’s lifesaving work on the ground as well as the challenges in procurement and funding gaps.
The DPRK said that the visit helped promote understanding between the country and the UN Secretariat.
The Korean Central News Agency said both sides acknowledged that the visit “contributed to promoting trust between the two sides” and that they “agreed to have regular exchanges of opinions through frequent exchanges of visits at various levels”.