UN chief "deeply concerned" about Korean Peninsula tension
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres was "deeply concerned" on Wednesday about tension on the Korean Peninsula and "troubled by the increase in confrontational rhetoric" by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) and the United States.
"The secretary-general remains deeply concerned about the tension on the Korean Peninsula and is troubled by the increase in confrontational rhetoric," his spokesman, Stephane Dujarric, told reporters at UN Headquarters.
The statement followed the recent heated exchange between Washington and Pyongyang.
First, the DPRK threatened a missile strike on the U.S. mainland, prompting President Donald Trump to respond, "North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States. They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen."
The DPRK then threatened to make preemptive strikes against the U.S. military base of Guam in the Pacific.
Trump's remarks, made during a working vacation on one of his golf courses in the U.S. state of New Jersey, touched off negative reactions both in the United States and elsewhere. Critics said the heated response increased tension, rather than cooling it.
Wednesday, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, while defending Trump's remarks, said he saw no indications the threat level from North Korea had changed, adding that Americans should "sleep well at night."
Dujarric, the UN spokesman, said the secretary-general welcomed the UN Security Council's commitment in a sanctions resolution Saturday to "a peaceful, diplomatic and political solution" to the Korean Peninsula crisis.
The spokesman also said Guterres underscored "the importance the council has placed on working to reduce tensions in the Korean Peninsula and beyond."
"The Secretary-General welcomes all initiatives that will help to de-escalate tensions and result in a return to diplomacy," Dujarric said.