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UN chief urges dialogue with North Korea

 

Seoul, South Korea / AFP

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon urged a return to talks with North Korea, during a visit to South Korea that has fuelled speculation of his presidential ambitions in his home country.
“We must find the path back to dialogue,” Ban said at a peace and security forum on the southern island of Jeju. Tensions between North and South Korea have been running high since Pyongyang conducted a fourth nuclear test in January.
The North has made repeated proposals for military talks aimed at de-escalating the situation —but the South has dismissed the offer as an “insincere” propaganda ploy.
The current administration of South Korean President Park Geun-Hye is adamant that substantive inter-Korean talks can only begin once the North makes a tangible commitment to denuclearisation.
“The rise in tensions on the Korean peninsula could cast a shadow across Northeast Asia and beyond,” Ban warned. “I welcome all efforts to move forward. And I stand ready to contribute in any way that might be helpful”, he added.
Ban has actively pursued an invitation to North Korea, and such a trip had been arranged to coincide with a visit to the South last November—but the plan fell through.

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