Guterres warns against 'sleepwalking' into war over North Korea

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"It is very clear that the Security Council resolutions need to be fully implemented by North Korea first of all, but [also] by all the other countries, whose roles are crucial in order to make sure that the sanctions are put in place", Guterres said in an oblique reference to China, which was slower to adopt sanctions against its neighbor.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres and Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (R) at a news conference in Tokyo, Japan, December 14, 2017.

"The worst possible thing that could happen is for us all to sleepwalk into a war that might have very dramatic circumstances", he said.

The White House said Wednesday that no negotiations could be held with North Korea until it improves its behaviour.

Japan has insisted that now is the time to keep up maximum pressure on Pyongyang, not start talks on the North's missile and nuclear programmes.

On Tuesday, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Washington was ready to talk to Pyongyang "without preconditions", interpreted by many as a shift in the US position.

North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un is seen as the newly developed intercontinental ballistic rocket Hwasong-15Õs test was successfully launched in this undated
Guterres warns against 'sleepwalking' into war over North Korea

Guterres attended a press conference at the Japan National Press Club Thursday afternoon, where he gave his early evaluation of United Nations political affairs chief Jeffrey Feltman's four-day visit to Pyongyang.

The United Nations' independent investigator on human rights in North Korea says he plans to investigate North Korean claims that South Korea abducted 12 North Korean women.

Yuzuru Yachita, president of a Tokyo-based company, and two others are suspected of shipping around 1,500 boxes of food and other items, worth around 7.16 million yen ($63,500) to North Korea via a Singapore firm, breaching the foreign exchange and foreign trade law, the police said.

"We fully agreed that the denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula is indispensable for the peace and stability of the region", Abe said.

Asked if he would be willing to meet North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, he said: "Meetings only make sense if there is a objective to those meetings".

"We are available, but we can only mediate when both parties accept our mediation".

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