China is pleased the United Nations is playing a constructive role in trying to push forward a resolution of the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula, Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said on Tuesday.
He made the remark as Jeffrey Feltman, the UN under-secretary-general for political affairs, started a four-day visit to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea after meeting with Vice-Foreign Minister Li Baodong in Beijing.
Geng said that Li and Feltman exchanged views regarding UN affairs and other issues of common concern.
Feltman arrived in Pyongyang on Tuesday afternoon and will discuss issues of mutual interest and concern with DPRK officials, said UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric. He also will meet with the UN in-country team and members of the diplomatic corps, as well as visit UN project sites.
The trip is the first by a high-ranking UN official to the DPRK since former UN humanitarian chief Valerie Amos traveled there in October 2011 — Feltman's predecessor, B. Lynn Pascoe, visited the DPRK in February 2010.
Chinese experts said Feltman's visit is "necessary and constructive" to ease heightening tensions on the peninsula, and it will help magnify the UN's role in resolving the peninsula's nuclear issue as an international organization.
A week ago, Pyongyang successfully test-fired a newly developed intercontinental ballistic missile, which it claimed is capable of striking the entire United States mainland.
Yu Shaohua, a researcher at the China Institute of International Studies, said any party with the will to solve the issue instead of seeking to achieve its own purpose should take advantage of the visit and make practical efforts.
"Having direct contact with the UN official will enable Pyongyang to express its concerns in a more comprehensive way," she said.
Da Zhigang, director of the Institute of Northeast Asian Studies at the Heilongjiang Academy of Social Sciences, said it takes time for the UN's mediation work to take effect. He said any unnecessary measures, a reference to ongoing military drills between the Republic of Korea and the US, should be halted.
"Diplomatic efforts should not be given up only because of the difficulties, and this requires sincerity from all directly involved parties," he said.