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United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon Reportedly Planning To Visit North Korea and Meet With Kim Jong Un Later This Week

by Therese Agcopra / Nov 17, 2015 08:02 AM EST
Ban Ki Moon reportedly received invitation to visit North Korea. (Photo by Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images)

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon has reportedly received an invitation to visit North Korea.

The Secretary-General is reportedly planning to visit Pyongyang later this week and will meet with North Korea's Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un, CNN reported Monday.

Reports also say that Ban and Kim will most likely discuss North Korea's nuclear weapons program.

"It's likely Ban and Kim will discuss Pyongyang's U.N.-banned nuclear program and its state-perpetrated human rights violations if they meet," Park Won Gon, international relations professor at Handong University, told Korea Times. "Their meeting may leave the impression that North Korea is willing to engage with the rest of the world beyond South Korea and China."

The U.N. chief might also use the visit as an opportunity to promote inter-Korean dialogue.

Chosun Ilbo noted Tuesday a senior U.N. official said Sunday Ban Ki Moon "has always said that he is ready to play any role to help enhance dialogue, stability and peace on the Korean Peninsula."

Ban was supposedly scheduled to visit North Korean border city Keasong in may this year, but Pyongyang unexpectedly withdrew its invitation a day before Ban arrival.

However, the South Korean Foreign Affairs and Unification ministries and the United nations did not confirm Ban's visit, who was recently in Turkey to attend Monday's Group 20 (G20) summit.

"The secretary general has always said that he is ready to play any role in order to help enhance dialogue, stability and peace on the Korean Peninsula. As for any future plans by the secretary general to travel to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, we have no further comment at this time," spokesperson to the Secretary-General Stephane Dujarric said.

If Ban's visit pushes through, he would become the third U.N. Secretary-General to visit North Korea, following Boutros Boutros-Ghali who visited in 1993 and Kurt Waldheim who visited in 1979 and 1981.

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