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UN chief calls for denuclearization during brief talk with N.Korean official

The UN chief has already returned to Seoul and will leave for New York early on Saturday

UN, February 10. /TASS/. UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres called for denuclearization talks during a brief conversation with North Korea's nominal head of state Kim Yong Nam, UN Secretary General’s Deputy Spokesperson Farhan Haq told reporters on Friday.

"The Secretary-General did meet with Kim Yong Nam. They were together in the presidium as they had the Olympic ceremonies and the dinner hosted by President Moon Jae-in. And so he did have a brief exchange with President Kim, in which he once more reiterated <…> his expectation and hope that all parties will use dialogue to achieve the peaceful denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula," Haq said.

When asked whether the secretary general had any contact with Kim Jong Un’s sister, Kim Yo-jong, the spokesman replied that their direct communication was unlikely.

The UN chief has already returned by train to Seoul and will leave for New York early on Saturday morning, Haq added.

Relations between the two Koreas, strained due to Pyongyang’s ballistic and nuclear tests and Seoul’s joint military exercises with the US, began to thaw in early 2018. Following several rounds of consultations held in the Panmunjom settlement in the demilitarized zone separating the two countries, the parties agreed that North Korea would send a delegation of athletes, officials and performing artists to the Winter Olympic Games, scheduled to be held in South Korea’s PyeongChang on February 9-25.