Wednesday, 5 October, 2022
E-paper

UN's Guterres expresses 'clear commitment' to North Korea denuclearization

UN's Guterres expresses 'clear commitment' to North Korea denuclearization

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio  Guterres on Friday expressed his "clear commitment" to North Korea's  denuclearisation during his visit to Seoul, weeks after Pyongyang said it was  "ready to mobilise" its nuclear deterrent.

Guterres arrived in Seoul on Thursday following a trip to Japan, where he  gave a speech to mark the 77th anniversary of the world's first nuclear bomb attack in Hiroshima. He has also been to Mongolia.

"I would like to reaffirm our clear commitment to the full, verifiable and  irreversible denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula, of the DPRK," he said  at his meeting with South Korean president Yoon Suk-yeol, using North Korea's  official name.

The goal is a "fundamental objective to bring peace, security and stability to the whole region", Guterres told Yoon, according to footage broadcast by  local media.

Guterres's comments come as Washington and Seoul officials have repeatedly  warned that the North is preparing to carry out what would be its seventh nuclear test.

On Thursday, Pyongyang blamed Seoul for a Covid-19 outbreak in the North and  threatened to "wipe out" Seoul's authorities.

Pyongyang has conducted a record-breaking blitz of weapons tests so far this  year, including firing an intercontinental ballistic missile at full range  for the first time since 2017.

Last month, the North's leader Kim Jong Un said his country was "ready to  mobilise" its nuclear deterrent in any future military conflict with the United States and Seoul.

Guterres delivered a stark warning against the horrors of atomic weapons in  New York at a key nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty conference last week,  which he reiterated in Japan on Monday.

"We are witnessing a radicalisation in the geopolitical situation that makes  the risk of a nuclear war again something we cannot completely forget," he said at a press conference in Tokyo.