The top U.N. political official will travel to North Korea next month for wide-ranging talks with the reclusive communist state locked in a nuclear dispute with the West, the United Nations has announced. The world body said that Lynn Pascoe, under-secretary-general for political affairs, would visit North Korea Feb. 9-12 to discuss “all issues of mutual interest and concern in a comprehensive manner.” Pascoe, who will travel as special envoy of Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, is a former U.S. ambassador to Indonesia and the most senior U.N. official in six years to visit North Korea. Also in Pascoe’s party of four will be Ban’s deputy chief of staff Kim Won-soo, who like the secretary-general is South Korean, U.N. officials said. The group will also visit China, Japan and South Korea, the U.N. statement said. (Reuters)

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