UNITED NATIONS - U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said on Wednesday he is willing to visit North Korea to help defuse tensions on the Korean peninsula.

Whatever I can do as the secretary-general I am willing to do, including my own visit to Pyongyang at this time, Ban told a regular monthly news conference.

I need to find out when would be an appropriate timing for me to visit. I am not able to give you any answer at this time, said Ban, who was South Korea's foreign minister before he replaced Kofi Annan as U.N. chief in 2007.

In the last two months North Korea has conducted its second nuclear test, test-fired seven ballistic missiles and boycotted six-party talks on ending its nuclear weapons program in exchange for economic, political and diplomatic benefits.

The six-party talks include the two Koreas, China, Russia, the United States and Japan.

(Reporting by Louis Charbonneau and Patrick Worsnip; Editing by David Storey)