Jeffrey Feltman, the UN's Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, has started meeting with North Korean officials in Pyongyang.
According to the Associated Press and Japan's Kyodo News on Wednesday, he met with the vice-foreign minister, Pak Myong-guk, but so far there are no details of what they discussed.
A UN spokesperson said on Monday that the under-secretary would also be meeting with foreign minister Ri Yong-ho during his 4-day trip, and that there would be, quote, "wide-ranging discussions."
It's the first trip to the regime by a senior UN official in 6 years, and there had been hope that this represents a chance of more significant dialogue with the regime in the future, especially after Pyongyang greenlit the meeting shortly after their latest missile provocation last week.
However, Washington has distanced itself from the visit.
U.S. State Department spokesperson, Heather Nauert, said on Tuesday that it is aware of Feltman's trip, and although he is a U.S. citizen, he is not travelling on behalf of the U.S. government and was not travelling with any kind of message from the U.S. government.
She also stressed that although the U.S. remains open to talks with Pyongyang, talks can only happen IF the regime show serious intent towards denuclearization, and that so far they have not shown that.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Department of Defense on Tuesday rebuffed claims that family members of U.S. troops in South Korea should be moved out.
Lindsey Graham, the Republican senator from South Carolina, said last Sunday that it's, quote, "crazy to send spouses and children to South Korea, given the provocation of North Korea."
But a Pentagon spokesperson told Seoul's Yonhap News that there are no plans to modify the current policy on military dependents, and that ensuring their safety and welfare is a key element to the South Korea-U.S. alliance.
He added that the U.S. has many contingency plans in place all over the world to keep its military families safe.
Kwon Jang-ho, Arirang News.