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Former UN head: Trump's summits gave North Korea 'de facto nuclear state status'

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)
The photo shows former United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon while speaking at the Human Rights Council at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, Monday, September 10, 2012. (Photo by AP)

Former United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says North Korea “seems to have succeeded in acquiring de facto nuclear state status” after the nation's leader Kim Jong Un's one-on-one meetings with US President Donald Trump. 

In an interview with Time magazine on Wednesday, Ban expressed deep concerns about the current missile tests in North Korea and blamed the US president for his passive behavior regarding the issue. 

“President Trump has been saying that it’s okay that [North Korea] are testing some small range missiles, as it cannot reach the American continent. It’s not only the security and safety of the American continent. It’s the safety, security and threat to the whole of humanity,” Ban noted.

Trump and Kim have met three times: in Singapore in June 2018, in Vietnam in February 2019, and finally at the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea in June 2019. 

Immediately after the first meeting, Pyongyang took several measures towards denuclearization in a goodwill gesture not reciprocated by Washington. North Korea even demolished a nuclear test site and suspended its missile and nuclear tests, which have long been the target of harsh unilateral US sanctions.

“President Trump has been able to make a good contribution, but at this time, unfortunately, by just granting a one-on-one summit three times, [it] perhaps played to Trump’s ego and penchant for pageantry, and Kim Jong Un seems to have succeeded in acquiring de facto nuclear state status,” Ban added.

The comments by former UN chief come after North Korea blew up an inter-Korean liaison office building just north of its border with the South due to Seoul’s failure to stop defectors from sending anti-Pyongyang propaganda leaflets, which are sent into the North usually by balloon over the border or in bottles by river.

Defector-led groups in the South have regularly sent anti-Pyongyang publicity flyers, along with food, US one-dollar bills, mini radios, and USB sticks containing South Korean TV shows and news clips.

Pyongyang has warned the South several times recently to stop the propaganda campaign and has already severed two valued hotlines with Seoul.

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