U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is expected to go to Pyongyang, North Korea’s capital, this week for a Ban Ki-Moon visit with its leader Kim Jong-un. It will be the first visit by a U.N. chief to North Korea since Boutros Boutros-Ghali in 1993. In May, North Korea had invited Ban to visit a jointly operated factory park in Kaesong, but withdrew the offer at the last minute. The report comes from South Korea’s News agency, Yonhap.

A Ban Ki-Moon visit with Kim Jong-un is expected because it's improbable for the secretary general to go to a U.N. member state and not meet the country's leader, said a U.N. source. However, the U.N. spokesman's office in New York, as well as Seoul’s Unification Ministry refused to talk about the possible visit with Kim Jong-un. It would be his first trip to the closed country in his capacity as U.N. chief.

Ban Ki-Moon visit could be breakthrough for talks

Kim, who became the leader of North Korea in 2011, has not yet had a visit with any heads of state, and has also not traveled outside his country. Ban's trip could help as a breakthrough in the current standoff over nuclear weapons in North Korea, as well as other strained ties that exist between the North and South Korea.

There have not been any worldwide nuclear disarmament talks with North Korea since early in 2009. The country is under several U.N. sanctions that were levied after its three nuclear tests that occurred in 2006, 2009 and 2013.

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China attentive to announcement of Ban’s possible visit

The Chinese government in Beijing is said to be very attentive of the possible visit by Ban, as his visit may open a path to reopening six-party talks on North Korea’s denuclearization, said a China analyst. Since August, North Korea is said to be less hostile to having relations with the outside world, and China and North Korea have increased their economic cooperation since the visit of Liu Yunshan to Pyongyang October 10.

Yunshan is Beijing's fifth-ranked official.

Additionally, South Korean President Park Geun-hye has said she is open to a summit between them and Kim Jong-un if there is a breakthrough made on his country’s nuclear program.

The possible Ban Ki-Moon visit to North Korea is seen as an opportunity to create more open relations with the reclusive country.

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