N Korea nuclear, missile programme most dangerous global threat: Guterres

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United Nations, Dec 15 (IANS) Warning that North Korea’s nuclear and missile programme is the most dangerous threat to world security, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres on Friday called for re-establishing communication channels with Pyongyang.

“I am deeply concerned by the risk of military confrontation, including as a result of unintended escalation or miscalculation,” Guterres told a high-level Security Council session on North Korea.

“The situation on the Korean Peninsula is the most tense and dangerous peace and security issue in the world today,” he said.

Underlining the seriousness of the situation in the Korean penninusla, Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono presided over the Council session and US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was scheduled to speak.

On November 29, North Korea tested an intercontinental ballistic missile that landed off Japan’s coast within its economic exclusive zone. The missile is said to be capable of hitting the US anywhere.

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Guterres said that “misplaced over-confidence, dangerous narratives and rhetoric, and the lack of communication channels” is raising the dangers of a conflict from an “accidental escalation”.

“Any military action would have devastating and unpredictable consequences,” he said.

The International Atomic Energy Agency has not been able to directly monitor nuclear developments in North Korea. However, through satellite monitoring, it observed a plutonium production reactor and centrifuge enrichment facility in operation as also ongoing mining, milling and concentration activities at the Pyongsan uranium mine and Pyongsan uranium concentration plant.

Guterres asked to the Council to act unitedly to contain Pyongyang and resolve the problem peacefully through diplomatic efforts.

“It is time to immediately re-establish and strengthen communication channels, including inter-Korean and military to military channels,” he said, adding that Under Secretary General for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman visited North Korea for the first in-depth political exchange of views between the UN and Pyongyang in almost eight years.

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(Arul Louis can be reached at [email protected])

–IANS

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