UN chief 'concerned' by DPRK statement on ending nuclear tests moratorium



UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Wednesday urged the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) not toresume the nuclear and missile tests, said his spokesman.

"The Secretary-General is deeply concerned by the statement of the DPRK, which has indicated the end of a moratorium on nuclear and missile tests," said spokesman Stephane Dujarric.

The UN chief "very much hopes" that the tests will not resume, in line with relevant Security Council resolutions, said Dujarric, adding that non-proliferation remains a fundamental pillar of global nuclear security and must be preserved.

Guterres supports the resumption of a dialogue that will lead to complete and verifiable denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, Dujarric added. "Diplomatic engagement is the only pathway to sustainable peace."

DPRK's official media reported on Wednesday that their leader Kim Jong Un had signaled his country no longer felt bound by its self-imposed moratorium on testing nuclear weapons and long-range ballistic missiles.

Kim said the DPRK took the lead in halting nuclear and intercontinental ballistic missile tests and abolishing its nuclear test site to build trust with the United States over the last two years, however, the U.S. side has responded with joint military exercises with the Republic of Korea (ROK) and more sanctions on the DPRK.

"Under such condition, there is no ground for us to get unilaterally bound to the commitment any longer, the commitment to which there is no opposite party, and this is chilling our efforts for worldwide nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation," KCNA quoted Kim as saying during the party meeting.

Kim also said the DPRK should "more actively push forward the project for developing strategic weapons" and "the world will witness a new strategic weapon to be possessed by the DPRK in the near future," according to KCNA.