NKorea sends ‘positive signal’ on UN chief’s visit


UNITED NATIONS, New York: UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says he has received “a bit of a positive signal” from North Korea about his plan to visit the reclusive country.

Ban cautioned that nothing had been decided but said he had discussed the proposed visit with North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Su Young when he was in New York for the UN General Assembly.

“Recently, on this, there has been a bit of a positive signal from the DPRK, and we are at the moment coordinating when would be the best time to visit the DPRK, but so far nothing has been decided,” Ban told South Korean journalists at UN headquarters on Monday.

Such a trip would make Ban the first UN secretary general to set foot in the North for more than 20 years, and the first international leader to meet leader Kim Jong-Un since he took power nearly four years ago.

South Korea’s Yonhap news agency reported last week that Ban was planning to visit, but the UN said no such travel was planned for the immediate future.

A former South Korean foreign minister, Ban stressed that he was ready to play a role “to promote peace and reconciliation between the South and North Koreas, and reduce tensions.”

The two Koreas remain in a technical state of war because the 1950-53 war ended with an armistice, not a peace treaty.



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