Report claims UN chief plans to visit North Korea this week

The United Nations would neither confirm nor deny a South Korean news report late Sunday that Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon planned to visit North Korea's capital this week.

A statement from Ban's spokesperson noted that "The Secretary-General has always said that he is ready to play any role in order to help enhance dialogue, stability and peace on the Korean Peninsula", but added that there would be "no further comment" on the reported trip to Pyongyang by the Yonhap News Agency.

If the report, which cited a U.N. source, proves true, Ban would be the first U.N. Secretary-General to visit North Korea since Boutros Boutros-Ghali in 1993. The report gave no details on the purpose of the trip or the day it would take place.

The possible trip comes six months after Pyongyang at the last minute canceled an invitation for Ban to visit a factory park in the North Korean city of Kaesong. Ban has said North Korea gave no reason for the cancellation. He had not planned to visit Pyongyang at that time.

Yonhap, quoting another unidentified U.N. source, said Ban is expected to meet Kim because it's unlikely for the secretary general to visit a U.N. member state without meeting the country's leader.

That source was quoted as saying Ban's trip could serve as a breakthrough in the standoff over North Korea's nuclear weapons program and strained ties between the two Koreas. Ban was South Korea's foreign minister before taking up the top U.N. job.

Ban had said before his canceled Kaesong park trip that he hoped his visit would help improve ties between the Koreas. Analysts in Seoul said at the time that Pyongyang may have scrapped the trip because it felt Ban would back only the views of Washington and Seoul.

The Korean Peninsula remains in a technical state of war because the 1950-53 Korean War ended with an armistice, not a peace treaty.

Fox News' Jonathan Wachtel and the Associated Press contributed to this report.