Ban wants Korean tension toned down

War games on the Korean peninsula.
War games on the Korean peninsula.

NEW YORK — UN chief Ban Ki-moon has said the North Korea “crisis has gone too far” after Pyongyang announced plans to restart its main Yongbyon nuclear complex.

Speaking at a news conference during a visit to Andorra, Ban called for urgent talks with the North.

The move by Pyongyang is the latest in a series of measures in the wake of its third nuclear test in February.

North Korea has been angered by the resultant UN sanctions and joint US-South Korea annual military drills.

“Things must begin to calm down, there is no need for the DPRK [North Korea] to be on a collision course with the international community. Nuclear threats are not a game,” Ban said.

Earlier, a South Korean foreign ministry spokesman said that if true, the North Korean move – which includes reactivating a reactor mothballed for six years – would be “highly regrettable”.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei called for restraint from all sides to resolve the “complex and sensitive” situation.

Weeks of rhetoric and almost daily threats by the North have raised tensions on the Korean Peninsula to their highest levels for years.

South Korea’s foreign ministry described Pyongyang’s announcement as “very regrettable”. Seoul and the US had warned of a “swift and strong response” to any military provocation.

Russia’s foreign ministry, meanwhile, warned against escalating tensions on the Korean peninsula.

“The main objective is to avoid the forceful military scenario. It is not acceptable to use the situation there (on the Korean peninsula) to try to reach someone’s specific military and political aims,” said ministry spokesman Grigoriy Logvinov. (BBC)

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