UN Secretary General António Guterres on Tuesday urged member states to avoid “confrontational rhetoric” and risk escalating a situation he views as the most dangerous crisis the world currently faces.
Speaking at a press event in New York, Guterres once again urged North Korea to adhere to its international obligations, while referencing the inflammatory back and forth between Pyongyang and Washington in August.
“Let us promote the dialogue and communication necessary to avoid miscalculation [or] misunderstanding,” the secretary general said in prepared remarks. “Confrontational rhetoric may lead to unintended consequences.”
U.S. President Donald Trump – who signaled he was not afraid to use military action when he ordered an air strike on Syria in April – has not ruled out a similar course on the DPRK.
When asked if Washington was considering military options following the North’s most recent nuclear test on Sunday, Trump said: “we’ll see.”
Following the test, the U.S. President also assembled his military advisers who briefed him on different military options, U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis said.
“The messaging from the Trump administration has been inconsistent and incoherent at times. It has deviated from what is considered normal by the international security community,” Daniel Pinkston, a North Korea watcher at Troy University, told NK News.
“So I assume (Guterres) is talking about Trump.”
The UN Secretary General also said he considers the situation on the Korean Peninsula to be “the most dangerous crisis we face today,” though also admitted the international body’s ability to help was limited if there was no will to negotiate.
“I know that the leverage of the UN is limited. I know that our capacity is limited. I’ve just signaled to the parties that I’m entirely at their disposal,” Guterres told reporters.
“I recognize that what is crucial here is the unity of the Security Council and the capacity of the five countries to come together with a single strategy to deal with the Government of the DPRK.”
North Korea conducted its sixth successful nuclear test on September 3. The country’s state media claimed the device was a hydrogen bomb which could be mounted on an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).
The DPRK’s missile development has also made strides recently, with the DPRK testing two intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) in July and firing another intermediate range ballistic missile (IRBM) across Japanese airspace in late August.
Edited by Oliver Hotham
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Featured Image: UN Secretary-General in London by imo.un on 2017-05-10 13:04:51