United Nations official visits children's food factory, hospital in Pyongyang: KCNA

Senior UN official leaves North Korea after rare visit

The United Nations political affairs chief told senior North Korean officials during a visit to Pyongyang this week that there was an "urgent need to prevent miscalculations and open channels to reduce the risks of conflict", the world body said.

He made the rare visit at the invitation of Pyongyang amid heightened tensions sparked by the North's November 29 test of a new intercontinental ballistic missile that it claims is capable of striking anywhere on the U.S. mainland.

He underscored the global community's commitment to achieving a peaceful solution, the statement said.

Feltman "emphasised the need for the full implementation of all relevant Security Council resolutions" and reiterated that "there can only be a diplomatic solution to the situation, achieved through a process of honest dialogue".

North Korea says it has agreed to regular communication with the UN.

Feltman did not speak to reporters upon arriving back from Pyongyang at Beijing airport on Saturday morning after spending four days in North Korea.

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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". North Korea's Central News Agency (KCNA) said that the Hwasong-15 missile had covered a distance of 950 kilometers during its 53-minute flight, reaching an altitude of 4,475 kilometers.

Jeffrey Feltman's trip to the North - the first by such a high-ranking UN diplomat since 2010 - also came after the United States and South Korea launched their biggest-ever joint air exercise.

Feltman, the highest-ranking American in the United Nations secretariat, is the first person in that post to visit North Korea since February 2010.

"The remaining question now is: when will the war break out", it said.

The US State Department's special representative for North Korea policy will travel to Japan and Thailand this week for talks on efforts to build pressure against Pyongyang after its latest ballistic missile test.

Six U.N. agencies, with approximately 50 worldwide staff, are represented in North Korea.

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