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UN chief voices worries over North Korea situation

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres listens to translations during a joint conference with the Palestinian prime minister in the West Bank city of Ramallah, on August 29, 2017. (Photos by AFP)

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has voiced deep worries over the situation with North Korea, stressing that it is the world’s worst crisis in “years.”

“To date, we have had wars which have been initiated after a well thought-out decision,” said Guterres in an interview published by the French Sunday newspaper Le Journal du Dimanche.   

“But we also know that other conflicts have started through an escalation caused by sleepwalking…We have to hope that the seriousness of this threat puts us on the path of reason before it is too late,” he added.

He went on to stress that North Korea must halt is nuclear and ballistic missile tests and start adhering to United Nation Security Council resolutions.

“We must also maintain the unity of the Security Council at all costs, because it is the only tool which can carry out a diplomatic initiative with a chance of success,” he added.

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Last week, the US presented a draft resolution to the UN Security Council, calling for an oil embargo on North Korea, an assets freeze on the country’s leader Kim Jong-un, a ban on textiles and an end to payments of North Korean guest workers.

Tensions on the Korean Peninsula have heightened over Pyongyang’s nuclear tests. Last week, the South Korean military said the North was preparing for another missile launch, possibly an ICBM test, a few hours after Seoul conducted a live-fire ballistic missile exercise, simulating an attack on the North’s main nuclear site.

South Korea is among the countries that have voiced strong criticism of the North's sixth nuclear test.

This file photo from North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) taken on August 29, 2017 and released on August 30, 2017 shows North Korea's intermediate-range strategic ballistic rocket Hwasong-12 lifting off from the launching pad at an undisclosed location near Pyongyang.

Meanwhile, Russia and China have warned that peace on the Korean Peninsula is in jeopardy, calling for a dialogue between North Korea, on the one side, and the US allies, on the other side, to put an end to the tensions in the region.

Washington wants the council to vote on Monday over imposing tougher sanctions against Pyongyang, despite resistance from China and Russia.

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