UN Official Worried About 'Accidental Conflict' in Korea

  • By Kim Deok-han

    December 18, 2017 11:02

    A senior UN official said he is "really worried about an accidental move toward conflict" on the Korean Peninsula.

    Jeffrey Feltman, the UN undersecretary-general for political affairs, told CNN last week about his Dec. 5-9 visit to North Korea, where he met North Korean officials including Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho.

    "The lack of trust in their mind meant that they had to rely on deterrence -- meaning military deterrence -- rather than on diplomatic dialogue in the short term," he said.

    He warned of a "lack of communication" and the "high risk of some kind of miscalculation." Feltman said he "reminded North Korean officials that their nuclear and missile programs are a concern not just for the United States, but for the whole global community, as reflected through UN Security Council resolutions."

    During the visit, Feltman proposed resuming inter-Korean talks and suggested the North take part in the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang.

    He said North Korean officials "gave us a fair hearing," asked questions, or took notes, but he added, "I don't know if they'll accept anything that we said."

    Feltman added it is unlikely that UN Secretary-General António Guterres will visit to Pyongyang any time soon.

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