North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is continuing his trend of avoiding meeting high-profile visitors to the country.
Jeffrey Feltman, United Nations undersecretary-general for political affairs, is slated to leave North Korea Thursday after spending four days in the country. According to the Korea Times, there is virtually no chance Feltman will get a meeting with Kim.
Feltman’s visit was triggered by North Korea’s most recent, and most powerful, intercontinental ballistic missile test. While Feltman has met on this visit with North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho, the highest ranking UN official to visit North Korea appears to have been shunned by the big boss himself.
A meeting between Kim and a UN representative would be futile and could simply annoy Kim, analysts said.
“It is so evident Feltman would urge Kim to stop the nuclear and missile programs if they meet,” Paik Hai-soon, researcher at the Sejong Institute, told the Korea Times. “Kim may fear that their possible meeting would be seen as a sign of Pyongyang giving up its nuclear ambitions,” the researcher added.
Kim’s unwillingness to meet significant visitors extends beyond UN envoys.
Chinese President Xi Jinping tapped Song Tao, a senior diplomat, to visit North Korea after the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China’s (CPC) national congress concluded in mid-October and endorsed Xi for a second five-year term. Upon arriving in North Korea in mid-November, Song was denied a meeting with the reclusive North Korean head of state.