United Nations official's visit to North Korea raises questions about sanctions

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A suspension of nuclear and missile tests would be a "good first step", says Joseph YunJoseph Yun, the senior USA representative for North Korea Policy, said a "60-day plan" for dialogue with Pyongyang is still valid.

The comments were carried by the official Korean Central News Agency late Wednesday, hours after the United States flew a B-1B supersonic bomber over South Korea as part of a massive combined aerial exercise involving hundreds of warplanes.

North Korea's Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho meets with Jeffrey Feltman UN undersecretary-general for political affairs in Pyongyang North Korea in this

It is the first trip of a UN Political Affairs chief to North Korea since his predecessor, also Lynn Pascoe visited in February 2010.

Feltman, a former senior U.S. State Department official, arrived in Pyongyang on Tuesday for a five-day visit.

There is also a possibility North Korea invited Feltman to request an easing of sanctions, following statements from a North Korean delegation to the United Nations Industrial Development Organization, or UNIDO, on November 28, condemning the embargoes. Also, according to the Russian Embassy in Pyongyang, he met with Ambassador Alexander Matsegora and both sides agreed on the importance of resuming dialogue on the nuclear issue at an early date. The North recently launched its most advanced missile to date and the USA and South Korea are now holding joint exercises with some of the world's most powerful fighter aircraft.

North Korea has suggested its readiness to come to the negotiation table if the United States agrees to recognize it as a nuclear weapon state. Speaking to foreign correspondents at a December 7 end-of-year gathering jointly organized in Washington, D.C., by the Korea Foundation and George Washington University Institute for Korean Studies, Yun said Washington could attempt dialogue if 60 days pass without nuclear and missile provocations after a message from Pyongyang that it intends to stop.

B-1Bs flyovers have become an increasingly familiar show of force to North Korea, which after three intercontinental ballistic missile tests has clearly moved closer toward building a nuclear arsenal that could viably target the US mainland.

"We have never sought war with North Korea and still today we do not seek it", she said.