On December 15, while delivering a speech at the UN Security Council meeting, Guterres urged the international community to increase efforts to lower a "level of danger that would be unpredictable in its trajectory and catastrophic in its consequences." He added that "diplomatic engagement" is the only way to reach a sustainable peace in the Korean peninsula.
"It is time to re-establish and strengthen communication channels, including inter-Korean and military-to-military channels," Guterres said, adding that he was ready to provide his offices to prevent Pyongyang's tests turning into a conflict.
"North Korea must earn its way back to the table," he said, in contradiction to his statement from December 13, stressing that economic and diplomatic pressure would remain in place "until denuclearization is achieved."
The statements come shortly after US President Donald Trump called for Russian help in resolving the North Korean crisis after he had talked with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Putin, who held a press conference on Thursday, slammed US attempts to pressure the DPRK into submission, suggesting that this strategy is counterproductive.
The tensions on the Korean peninsula have grown over the last year as North Korea has been conducting ballistic missile and nuclear tests. The United States and its allies have in turn amassed troops and military equipment in close proximity to North Korea in the region and engaged in exercises.