08:16 GMT28 November 2020
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    United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has told the Security Council that the risk of accidental escalation with North Korea that could lead to a conflict is now being "multiplied by misplaced over-confidence, dangerous narratives and rhetoric, and the lack of communication channels" between the parties to the standoff.

    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.

    READ MORE: Trump Says Would Like to Have Russia's Help With North Korea

    However, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who also spoke at the event, backpedaled on his earlier suggestion to hold direct talks with Pyongyang without preconditions. 

    "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.

    READ MORE: Lavrov Opposes Attempts to Resolve the North Korean Crisis Using Military Force

    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.


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