It'll be the first time a senior United Nations official has visited the reclusive state since the former United Nations aid chief, Valerie Amos, visited in October 2011 and it comes as tensions have been renewed after Pyongyang test fired its latest, most powerful ballistic missile yet last week.
A senior United Nations official who is visiting North Korea was not carrying a message from the USA government, the State Department said Tuesday.
UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said on Monday that UN Undersecretary-General for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman will travel to Pyongyang Tuesday to discuss "issues of mutual interest and concern" with North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho and others.
Feltman is now in Beijing reinforcing contacts with Chinese authorities.
The five-day Vigilant Ace drill involves 230 aircraft, including F-22 Raptor stealth jet fighters, and tens of thousands of troops, Seoul's air force said.
Feltman will meet with DPRK officials to discuss "issues of mutual interest and concern", said United Nations officials earlier in NY.
The U.N.is responding to a "long-standing invitation" from Pyongyang, but the visit comes at a time of great tension on the Korean Peninsula.
Feltman's visit comes less than a week after Pyongyang announced it had successfully test fired a new intercontinental ballistic missile that can reach the US mainland.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and U.S. President Donald Trump, meanwhile, have traded insults and engaged in escalating rhetoric in recent months.
The UN envoy is also planning to see foreign diplomats and UN workers in the North on humanitarian missions, Dujarric said.
On Monday, the US and South Korea launched their biggest-ever joint air exercise - maneuvers slammed by Pyongyang as an "all-out provocation".