Jamaica Gleaner / TOKYO (AP)

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called yesterday for urgent efforts to create conditions for talks on North Korea’s growing missile and nuclear threat, saying it’s important to avoid miscalculations and misperceptions that “make us sleepwalk into a war.”

Guterres, who met with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Tokyo, said the UN’s objective is to avoid a conflict.

“I think we all want to avoid that things get out of control, and that misperceptions and mishandling of situations make us sleepwalk into a war that will have devastating consequences,” he told journalists in Tokyo.

Guterres, who was in Japan to attend an international conference on universal health coverage, said it’s important that all parties understand the urgency of finding a peaceful solution.

He said UN political chief Jeffrey Feltman visited Pyongyang last week and conveyed “a very strong message” to the foreign minister and other officials that not only that all Security Council resolutions which include bans on nuclear and ballistic missile tests must be implemented, “but there must be a sense of urgency in creating the conditions for a meaningful dialogue to achieve the denuclearization of the (Korean) Peninsula.”

Japan holds the presidency of the Security Council this month and Foreign Minister Taro Kono is chairing a ministerial meeting on North Korea on Friday that US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and others are expected to attend.

Guterres said the unity of the Security Council “is crucial” on North Korea including implementation of sanctions resolutions.

Asked if he is considering a trip to North Korea to meet with leader Kim Jong Un, Guterres said: “Meetings only make sense if there is a purpose to those meetings. I’m ready to go anywhere at any time when it is useful.”

Abe said he agrees that possible dialogue with North Korea must be meaningful and aimed at the country’s denuclearisation.


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