U.N. under-secretary-general for political affairs Jeffrey Feltman, attends a news conference in Bogota on November 15, 2017. RAUL ARBOLEDA/AFP/Getty Images Jeffrey Feltman, a senior official at the United Nations and a former U.S. diplomat, will visit North Korea for four days, the United Nations announced Monday. Starting Tuesday, Feltman will meet a number of North Korean officials, including foreign minister Ri Yong Ho, as well as foreign diplomats and U.N. staff, spokeswoman Eri Kaneko said. The trip was arranged after the United Nations received an invitation from North Korea, the U.N. department of political affairs wrote on Twitter. As under-secretary-general for political affairs, Feltman has the equivalent diplomatic rank of a national cabinet minister and is responsible for monitoring and assessing global developments around the world for the United Nations. Visits by U.N. officials of this rank to North Korea are rare but not unheard of: The last similar visit was in 2010, when Feltman's predecessor B. Lynn Pascoe visited the country. However, this trip comes at a particularly tense time. Over the past year North Korea has made rapid advancements with its weapons program, testing multiple ballistic missiles and a nuclear weapon.  After the country's most recent missile test on Nov. 29, experts suggested that North Korea may be able to hit Washington. Kim Jong Un later said that North Korea had “finally realized the great historic cause of completing the state nuclear force,” state media reported. [U.S., South Korea begin air combat drills that include simulated strikes on North Korea] Over the past 11 months, the Trump administration has pursed a policy of “maximum pressure” on North Korea, pushing both sanctions and diplomatic isolation in a bid to convince it to abandon its weapons program. President Trump has personally suggested that military action could be an option for dealing with North Korea and that the time for diplomacy was over. In a speech to the U.N. General Assembly in September, he warned that the country may have no choice “but to totally destroy North Korea.” Kaneko declined to comment further on the purpose of the trip, pointing