Tensions on the Korean Peninsula are the world's most risky security issue, and must be resolved fast and diplomatically to avoid war, a top United Nations envoy said after a rare visit to North Korea.
UN's Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman wrapped up his four-day trip to North Korea, where he held a series of meetings with Pyongyang's officials, including Foreign Minister Ri Yong-Ho, on Friday.
"They exchanged views on the Korean Peninsula and agreed that the current situation was the most tense and risky peace and security issue in the world today", UN Secretary-General spokesman Stephane Dujarric said in a statement on Saturday.
The state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said Feltman's visit will help improve the United Nations and North Korea to communicate effectively through routine channels.
Feltman's trip-the first by a United Nations diplomat of his rank since 2010-saw him meet North Korea's Foreign Minister Ri Yong-Ho and vice foreign minister Pak Myong-Kuk, according to NK's state news agency KCNA.
"He [Feltman] also said there can only be a diplomatic solution to the situation, achieved through a process of honest dialogue".
On Nov. 29, it test-fired an intercontinental ballistic missile which it said was its most advanced yet, capable of reaching the mainland United States.
North Korea's state media described the drills as "joint air war exercises targeting the DPRK", a reference to North Korea's official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.
Last month's missile test prompted a U.S. warning that North Korea's leadership would be "utterly destroyed" if war were to break out. North Korean state media purports it can carry a "super-large heavy warhead".
North Korea blamed U.S.
North Korea's official KCNA news agency earlier reported that Feltman, during his meeting with North Korean officials, "expressed concern by tensions on the Korean Peninsula and readiness to assist in reducing those tensions".
The UN Security Council implemented new economic sanctions on North Korea as a result of that nuclear test.
Despite calls from other world leaders for restraint, this year has seen US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un hurl insults at each other, both at one time saying the other was mad.
Speaking at an academic forum, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said the situation on the Korean peninsula had entered a vicious circle of shows of strength and confrontation, and the outlook was not optimistic, China's Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
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