Weeks after North Korea’s first act of tangible aggression in months — testing a long-range missile reportedly capable of reaching D.C. — the U.N. is making attempts to attempt to curb progress by the regime’s nuclear program. As the U.S. sent stealth fighters into the region to conduct drills alongside South Korean forces, a top U.N. diplomat (Jeffrey Feltman, who is the U.N. under-secretary-general for political affairs) went north of the DMZ for the first time in six years.
In doing so, Feltman delivered warnings while reportedly achieving a slight meeting of the minds. The U.N. published a statement that prominently features an agreement between Feltman and two top North Korean officials, who reached a consensus that the situation has blossomed into the “most tense and dangerous” issue on the international stage. Therefore, timely diplomacy must take place to avoid war:
Mr. Feltman had a series of meetings with H.E. Mr. RI Yong Ho, Minister for Foreign Affairs, and H.E. Mr. PAK Myong Guk, Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs, of the DPRK. They exchanged views on the Korean Peninsula and agreed that the current situation was the most tense and dangerous peace and security issue in the world today.
Mr. Feltman emphasised the need for the full implementation of all relevant Security Council resolutions. He also said there can only be a diplomatic solution to the situation, achieved through a process of sincere dialogue. Time is of the essence.
Despite the agreement about the level of danger involved, however, North Korea’s state-owned propaganda arm, the KNCA news agency, had a different public take on the matter. According to KNCA, Feltman now understands how U.N. sanctions are placing North Korea into a bind, per CBS:
“Under-Secretary-General became aware that sanctions are having negative impact on the field of humanitarian cooperation and expressed his intention to put in efforts to ensure that the cooperation is carried out in accordance with its humanitarian mission.”
North Korea has apparently weaseled past sanctions to push seafood into the U.S. at least once already, and Kim Jong-un has made no secret of refusing to drop his nuclear bloodlust in order to see the sanctions’ legitimate removal. The KNCA also pointed toward a plan for future communications with the U.N., but whether or not this will happen is anyone’s guess.