SEOUL: United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Friday expressed his “clear commitment” to North Korea’s denuclearization during his visit to Seoul, weeks after Pyongyang said it was “ready to mobilize” its deterrent.
“I would like to reaffirm our clear commitment to the full, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, of North Korea,” Guterres said in a meeting with South Korean President Yoon Suk-you.
This is a “fundamental objective to bring peace, security and stability to the whole region”, he added, according to images broadcast by local television.
Before arriving in Seoul on Thursday, the UN secretary-general was in Japan, where he delivered a speech on the 77th anniversary of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima.
He repeated Monday in the Japanese archipelago the stern warning against the horrors of atomic weapons that he had launched in New York last week at a key conference on the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
“We are witnessing a radicalization of the geopolitical situation which makes the risk of nuclear war again become something that we cannot completely forget,” he said at a press conference in Tokyo on Monday.
Washington and Seoul have repeatedly warned in recent months that North Korea is preparing for another nuclear test, which would be the seventh in its history.
On Thursday, Pyongyang accused Seoul of being behind the country’s Covid-19 outbreak and threatened to “eradicate” South Korean leaders.
Kim Jong Un’s regime conducted a record series of weapons tests this year, including an intercontinental ballistic missile, for the first time since 2017.
In July, Kim Jong Un assured that his country was “ready to mobilize” its nuclear deterrent force in the event of a military conflict with the United States or South Korea.