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(LEAD) U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon to visit Pyongyang this week

2015/11/16 08:08

(ATTN: RECASTS lead; ADDS background; Minor Edits throughout)

NEW YORK, Nov. 15 (Yonhap) -- U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon plans to visit North Korea this week, a high-level U.N. source said Sunday, a surprise trip that raises hope for progress in inter-Korean relations and efforts to resolve the North Korean nuclear standoff.

Ban's visit to Pyongyang will be the first time in his capacity as U.N. chief, the source told Yonhap News Agency without providing exact dates of the trip and other specifics. The source spoke on condition of anonymity because the trip has not been formally announced.

In May, Ban planned to visit the North Korean border city of Kaesong, where South Korea runs an industrial complex, but the trip was called off at the last minute because Pyongyang withdrew its invitation for him for no clear reason.

Ban, a former South Korean foreign minister, has repeatedly said that he will do everything possible to promote inter-Korean reconciliation and a resolution of the North Korean nuclear issue.

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