UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon urges 'dialogue' with North Korea

During a visit toSouth Korea, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Thursday urged a return to talks with North Korea.

AFP May 26, 2016 15:56:35 IST
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon urges 'dialogue' with North Korea

Seoul: UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Thursday urged a return to talks with North Korea, during a visit toSouth Korea that has fuelled speculation of his presidential ambitions in his home country.

"We must find the path back to dialogue," Ban said at a peace and security forum on the southern island of Jeju.

UN Secretary General Ban Kimoon urges dialogue with North Korea

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. AP

Tensions between North and South Korea have been running high since Pyongyang conducted a fourth nuclear test in January.

In recent weeks, the North has made repeated proposals for military talks aimed at de-escalating the situation - but the South has dismissed the offer as an "insincere" propaganda ploy.

The current administration of South Korean President Park Geun-Hye is adamant that substantive inter Korean talks can only begin once the North makes a tangible commitment to denuclearisation.

"The rise in tensions on the Korean peninsula could cast a shadow across Northeast Asia and beyond," Ban warned.

"I welcome all efforts to move forward. And I stand ready to personally contribute in any way that might be helpful," he added.

Ban has actively pursued an invitation to North Korea, and such a trip had been arranged to coincide with a visit to the South last November - but the plan fell through.

Speaking to journalists in Jeju yesterday, Ban said the "window for a high-level dialogue" had been left open.

"I am the only one that has been maintaining a dialogue channel with Pyongyang," he added.

A North Korea visit would offer Ban a high-profile platform should he consider throwing his hat into South Korea's 2017 presidential race after stepping down as UN chief at the end of this year.

Ban has declined to confirm a run at the Blue House, although on Wednesday he offered what was seen as a broad hint in that direction, saying he would "contemplate ...what I should do as a South Korean citizen" after leaving the UN.

While calling for dialogue with the North, Ban also urged the international community to forcefully implement tough UN  sanctions imposed on Pyongyang over its latest nuclear test.

North Korea's pursuit of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles "only undermines its own security and hurts its citizens," he said, urging Pyongyang to "cease any further provocations."

Updated Date:

also read

Opposition reacts to PM's speech: From Mamata's 'delayed decision' to Yechury's 'lot to be done', what politicos said
India

Opposition reacts to PM's speech: From Mamata's 'delayed decision' to Yechury's 'lot to be done', what politicos said

Meanwhile, a slew of BJP leaders including JP Nadda, Rajnath Singh and Smriti Irani praised the prime minister's announcements and said the decisions showed the government's committment to the public

Punjab polls: SAD is open for alliance with anyone but BJP, Congress and AAP, says Sukhbir Singh Badal
Politics

Punjab polls: SAD is open for alliance with anyone but BJP, Congress and AAP, says Sukhbir Singh Badal

Badal's remarks have come at a time when the political temperature is rising in Punjab ahead of Assembly elections and the opposition has mounted a sharp attack on the Congress-led state government over 'vaccine profiteering'

Beyond BTS, how Friends has been a key learning resource for English language across the globe
Entertainment

Beyond BTS, how Friends has been a key learning resource for English language across the globe

Fans and educators on three continents echo the sentiment, saying that Friends is a near-perfect amalgam of easy-to-understand English and real-life scenarios that feel familiar even to people who live worlds away from Manhattan