United Nations official did not carry U.S. gov't message to NK: State Department

Senior UN official to visit North Korea this week

On Monday, he met Chinese Deputy Foreign Minister Li Baodong, and from Beijing he will go directly to the North Korean capital.

UN Under Secretary-General for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman will arrive in North Korea on Tuesday to meet authorities of the Pyongyang regime, according to an official statement.

Dujarric added that Feltman's visit comes in response to an invitation that has been pending for some time, and which aims to maintain a dialogue between Pyongyang and the UN. -South Korea joint air force exercise involving hundreds of fighter jets and tens of thousands of troops.

From Dec. 5 to 8, Feltman, a former U.S. State Department official, will meet a number of officials including Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho, United Nations spokesman Stephane Dujarric told reporters. The visit was first said to have been discussed on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in September, but not confirmed until recently. The spokesperson added that the Under-Secretary will meet with some of the 50 members of staff working for the 6 United Nations agencies in North Korea, and will visit some of the United Nations projects himself.

Analysts say it is unclear whether the missile survived re-entry into the earth's atmosphere or could successfully deliver a warhead to its target - key technological hurdles for Pyongyang.

In recent years, Pyongyang has accelerated its drive to bring together nuclear and missile technology capable of threatening the USA, which it accuses of hostility.

North Korean state media has hit back with a flurry of its own colourful insults, calling Trump a "dotard", a "frightened dog" and a "gangster". Countries including the U.S., Japan and South Korea are watching to see what the North will ask of the U.N.as a mediator to gauge how well the sanctions are working.

The visit by Feltman follows the dispatch last month by China of its highest-level envoy to North Korea in two years.

Tokyo's parliament yesterday slammed the North's weapons programme as an "imminent threat".

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