Contrary to reports, U.N.'s Ban Ki-moon will not visit North Korea next week

Story highlights

  • South Korea's Yonhap news agency reported that Ban Ki-moon would meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un
  • The visit would have been the first by a U.N. Secretary-General in more than 20 years
  • Ban, a South Korean, once served as his country's foreign minister

(CNN)U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will not visit North Korea next week, his office said, contrary to earlier news reports.

South Korea's Yonhap news agency reported Monday that Ban, who is South Korean, was expected to meet North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to discuss North Korea's nuclear weapons program, among other issues. The news agency said its report was based on information from a high-level U.N. source.
Although Ban will not visit North Korea soon, his office said the "Secretary-General has repeatedly said that he is willing to play any constructive role, including traveling to the DPRK, in an effort to work for peace, stability and dialogue on the Korean Peninsula."
    United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon/

    Previous trip canceled

    Had the visit taken place as reported, it would have been the first visit by a U.S. Secretary-General to the reclusive state in more than two decades.
    Only two U.N. Secretaries-General have visited North Korea -- Kurt Waldheim in 1979 and Boutros Boutros-Ghali in 1993.
    Ban, a South Korean, was scheduled to visit the North Korean border city of Kaesong in May but the trip was canceled when North Korea suddenly withdrew its invitation.
    Prior to his career at the U.N., Ban served in the South Korea's ministry of foreign affairs. He joined the department in 1970, rising to Foreign Minister in 2004.
    Last month, the U.N. released a report saying that Kim's regime was amassing a fortune on the back of citizens who are sent abroad and forced to work with no pay.
    North Korean workers are made to work as long as 20 hours a day without proper food and are kept under constant surveillance, the report said.