By Prudence Arobani
UN Secretary-General António Guterres has called on the U.S. and North Korea “to dial down rhetoric and dial up diplomacy” in addressing the growing tensions on the Korean Peninsula.
Guterres, while speaking with the UN Correspondents in New York, stressed that the solution to the crisis must be political.
The UN chief reiterated that his good offices – the prestige and weight that his title and the UN represented to the world community – were always available.
“I will remain in close contact with all concerned parties and stand ready to assist in any way,” Guterres said.
He noted Tuesday’s meeting of the representatives of the Six-Party Talks, which include China, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), Japan, the Republic of Korea, the Russian Federation, and the United States.
Guterres also noted the UN Security Council strengthened sanctions against DPRK’s exports, which unanimously adopted resolution 2371 (2017) and imposed a full ban on the export of coal, iron and iron ore from the north-east Asian country.
He said that with that resolution, the international community must send a clear, coherent message to the leadership of the DPRK to “fully comply with international obligations, work towards reopening communication channels and support efforts to deescalate the situation.”
He noted that the resolution sent “an unambiguous message regarding the peace and security obligations” of DPRK.
It also represented “an opportunity to solve this crisis through diplomatic engagement and renewed dialogue”.
Guterres welcomed the “continued critical engagement” by Member States and supported “the call of the Republic of Korea to the DPRK to engage in credible and meaningful dialogue”.
These include steps as confidence-building measures to defuse tension and efforts to de-nuclearise the Peninsula, he said.
The tensions related to the crisis in the region “are at levels not seen in decades,” Guterres said, noting that more than three million people died in the Korean War, which ravaged the Peninsula from 1950 to 1953.
“We need to heed the lessons of history – not to repeat the mistakes,” he said, while noting also that the potential consequences of military action “are too horrific to even contemplate”.
Chinese President Xi Jinping had earlier urged all the concerned parties to practice restraint regarding the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue in a phone conversation with his U.S. counterpart Donald Trump on Saturday.
The concerned parties should avoid remarks and actions that could escalate tensions on the Korean Peninsula, Xi said, adding China is ready to work with the United States to appropriately