UN chief alarmed at military build-up over North Korea

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United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres. UN Photo/Jean-Marc Ferré (file)

The UN chief António Guterres, told the Security Council on Friday he was alarmed by "the risk" of military escalation over the Democratic People's Republic of Korea's nuclear programme.

He warned against the danger of "miscalculation or misunderstanding" on the part of the international community and said tensions need to be reduced over DPRK, commonly referred to as North Korea.

Matthew Wells has more.

The Secretary-General condemned North Korea's repeated violations of Security Council resolutions, which have sought to curb the country's nuclear and ballistic missile activities.

Since January last year, DPRK has carried out two nuclear tests and more than 30 launches.

Mr Guterres said its continued pursuit of a nuclear weapon "clearly threatens" regional and international security, and harmed global non-proliferation efforts.

But he called all Member States to behave responsibly in countering the threat.

I am alarmed by the risk of a military escalation in the region, including by miscalculation or misunderstanding. The onus is on the DPRK to comply with its international obligations. At the same time, the international community must also step up its efforts to manage and reduce tensions. 

The UN chief said we needed to "act now to prevent conflict and achieve sustainable peace" and called on the international community to help an estimated 13 million North Koreans in need of aid – half the country's population. 

Matthew Wells, United Nations. 

Duration: 57"

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