UN chief to meet N.Korean leader

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon reported to be planning a surprise visit to North Korea this week

UN chief to meet N.Korean leader

World Bulletin / News Desk

Ban Ki-moon looks set to become the first United Nations chief in more than two decades to visit North Korea, amid local reports Monday that he could hold talks with leader Kim Jong Un this week.

The former South Korean foreign minister had hoped to travel to the reclusive state in May, before Pyongyang canceled the plan.

According to a "high-level U.N. source" cited by news agency Yonhap, Ban has rescheduled the visit this week, and is likely to meet with Kim.

“There can’t be a situation where the U.N. secretary-general visits North Korea and does not meet with the supreme leader of the U.N. member state,” the source was quoted as saying.

Hopes are reportedly high within the international organization that Ban might help achieve a diplomatic breakthrough with the North, which has been isolated under sanctions related to its nuclear weapon ambitions.

Pyongyang and Seoul have fluctuated between dialogue and hostility in recent years, as the two Koreas never signed a peace treaty at the end of the 1950-53 Korean War.

The South was apparently not aware of Ban’s planned trip.

“This is the first time I’ve heard about it,” admitted an unnamed official accompanying President Park Geun-hye in Turkey, where she is attending the G20 summit.

Ban is also in Antalya for the global gathering, but so far has not confirmed whether he will move onwards to Pyongyang.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 16 Kasım 2015, 10:54