SEOUL, May 19 (UPI) -- Hours after announcing he would be the first United Nations secretary-general to step foot in North Korea in more than two decades, Ban Ki-moon said the country has reversed its decision to allow his visit.
Speaking at the Seoul Digital Forum on Tuesday, Ban said North Korea informed the UN they were declining his visit to the Kaesong Industrial Complex, which was scheduled to take place Thursday.
"No explanation was given for this last-minute change," Ban said.
It would have been the first time a UN secretary-general visited North Korea in more than 20 years. The last visit was by former Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali.
Announcing his visit earlier Thursday, Ban said he hoped it would "provide positive impetus to further develop" the Kaesong Industrial Complex "and expand to other areas." He said the project is a "win-win model for both Koreas."
The Kaesong Industrial Complex is a factory park jointly run by both North and South Korea.
"This decision by Pyongyang is deeply regrettable. However, I as the secretary-general of the United Nations, will not spare any efforts to encourage the DPRK to work with the international community for peace and stability on the Korean peninsula and beyond," Ban said.