UNITED NATIONS, August 16. /TASS/. UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres expressed readiness on Wednesday to assist in restarting the six-way talks on the North Korean nuclear program suspended in 2008, warning against a military solution to the crisis.
"As tensions rise, so does the risk of misunderstanding, miscalculation or escalation," the secretary general told reporters at the UN headquarters. "That is why it is so important to dial down rhetoric and to dial up diplomacy. For my part, I want to repeat that my good offices are always available - and I conveyed this message yesterday to the representatives of the six-party talks," Antonio Guterres said.
"I will remain in close contact with all concerned parties and stand ready to assist in any way," he pledged.
He welcomed commitment of regional and international players to the settlement of the situation around North Korea, supporting Seoul’s call for the start of a dialogue with Pyongyang. "The solution to this crisis must be political. The potential consequences of military action are too horrific to even contemplate," he stressed.
Six-way talks on denuclearization of the Korean peninsula, involving the two Koreas, Japan, China, Russia and the US were suspended in 2008 at the initiative of Pyongyang. Over the recent months, some countries, including Russia and South Korea have spoken in favor of restart of a dialog in the six-party format. The then Foreign Minister of Japan Fumio Kishida, for his part, said on May 9 that it was not an appropriate moment for getting back to the negotiating table.
Tensions around the Korean Peninsula started to rise in light of the implementation of the North Korean missile program. In July, Pyongyang conducted two ballistic missile tests which provoked a sharp response from the United States, Japan and South Korea. Washington has been repeatedly stating that no option including the use of military force could be ruled out.
On Wednesday, the UN secretary general said tensions on the peninsula have reached the highest levels over the past several decades. "We remember the enormous suffering caused by the Korean War that began 67 years ago. More than three million people were killed - with a civilian death rate higher than World War II. The Korean peninsula was left in ruins. Many nations were directly engaged and experienced heavy losses," he reminded the journalists. "We need to heed the lessons of history - not to repeat the mistakes," he summed up.