North Korea and the United Nations are both confirming that discussions are under way for the United Nations human rights chief to visit North Korea.

North Korea's abysmal rights record has been denounced and recommended for prosecution by the International Criminal Court.

North Korean Ambassador-at-large Ri Hung Sik told a news conference Tuesday that the government invited Zeid Raad al-Hussein to Pyongyang to follow up on "technical cooperation." He said contacts were under way on the details and timing of the visit.

Zeid's spokesman, Andre-Michel Essoungou, says that in September the high commissioner for human rights welcomed an invitation from North Korea's foreign minister to visit the country.

Essoungou says discussions are continuing to prepare the groundwork for a possible visit to engage the North on a "human rights dialogue."