The Associated Press UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The U.N. political chief said Tuesday that senior North Korean officials told him during his visit last week “that it was important to prevent war” over the country’s rapidly advancing nuclear and ballistic missile programs.
Jeffrey Feltman told reporters after briefing the U.N. Security Council privately that “how we do that” was the topic of more than 15 hours of discussions he had with Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho, Vice Minister Pak Myong Guk, and other officials.
Feltman, a veteran American diplomat who is the U.N. undersecretary general for political affairs, said he told the North Koreans “they need to signal that they’re willing now to go in a different direction, to start some kind of engagement, to start talking about talks.”
He said he stressed “the urgent need to prevent miscalculation and reduce the risk of conflict,” while he also underlined both the international community’s commitment to a peaceful solution and its opposition to North Korea’s pursuit of nuclear weapons.
He said he emphasized the importance of opening channels of communications “such as the military-to-military hotline to reduce risks, to signal intentions, to prevent misunderstandings and manage any crisis.”
It was the first in-depth exchange of views between the United Nations and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the country’s official name, in almost eight years.