A Senior North Korean official has been granted a visa to visit the United States this month, at a time when the two countries are trying to resume stalled disarmament talks.
The U.S. State Department approved a visa for Ri Gun, Director General of the American Affairs Bureau of the North Korean Foreign Ministry.
North Korea wants to begin bilateral talks with the United States, and has issued an invitation to U.S. special envoy Stephen Bosworth to visit Pyongyang.
The Obama administration has made clear it wants any talks to include South Korea, China, Russia and Japan.
So far, there are no formal talks scheduled for the North Korean diplomat during his visit.
The official reason for Ri Gun requesting and being given a visa were to allow his attendance at a New York seminar hosted by the National Committee on American Foreign Policy and the Korea Society, as well as a forum in California.
Some information for this report provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.