Published: Thu, December 14, 2017
Global | By Shelia Dennis

Guterres ready to visit North Korea if opportunity arises

Guterres ready to visit North Korea if opportunity arises

North Korea appears to have little interest in negotiations with the United States until it has developed the ability to hit the US mainland with a nuclear-tipped missile, something most experts say it has still not proved.

"Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said it is regrettable that the Seoul government is not doing it despite his hope that the three countries conduct joint air drills in Japanese skies", Hong Joon-pyo told reporters following his talks with Abe.

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Thursday said that he is willing to visit North Korea for peace negotiations if there is an opportunity to do so.

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During last month's visit by U.S. President Donald Trump in Tokyo, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe pledged to freeze the assets of North Korean groups and individuals.

Later that day, Guterres told a news conference at the Japan National Press Club in Tokyo that the recent visit to Pyongyang made by U.N. Undersecretary-General for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman was successful, although noted that "it is hard to immediately measure" the result of diplomacy.

In his first trip to Japan as secretary-general of the world body, Guterres met with Abe for over an hour at the prime minister's office.

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He stressed the diplomatic engagement will allow for a peaceful resolution of the North Korean crisis.

Hope for dialogue to defuse tension over North Korea's weapons was kindled last week when United Nations political affairs chief Jeffrey Feltman made a rare visit there, the highest level engagement by a United Nations official with North Korea since 2012. "But I think the message was clear, and the message was delivered".

After meeting with Guterres earlier in the day on Thursday, Abe said he agreed on the need to maximize efforts to denuclearize North Korea.

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Abe says he agreed that possible dialogue with North Korea must be meaningful and aimed at the country's denuclearisation.

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