UN chief Guterres urges DPRK-US talks on sideline of PyeongChang



United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said on Thursday dialogue between Pyongyang and Washington is "absolutely necessary" and "urgent" to deescalate tensions on the Korean Peninsula, a day ahead of the PyeongChang Winter Olympics.

The dialogue is "absolutely necessary, and it's urgent" to avoid the kinds of misunderstanding and escalation, and the UN is pressing for those talks, Guterres told the US CBS broadcasting company.

He said he hopes this improvement in the inter-Korean relationship in the (upcoming) Olympic Games will contribute to facilitating negotiations to address the denuclearization.

Pyongyang is sending its ceremonial leader Kim Yong Nam, the sister of leader Kim Jong Un, a troupe of performers and hundreds of female cheerleaders to the South for the Games.

The Games opening ceremony on Friday will also be attended by Pence, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and other world leaders.

Hopes grew for high-level inter-Korean talks but the North has ruled out the possibility.

Meanwhile, Pyongyang said it has no intention to meet the US officials, but did not rule it out.

"We have no intention whatsoever to meet US authorities during our visit to the South," Cho Yong Sam, a senior foreign ministry official, was quoted as saying by the North's (DPRK's) official KCNA news agency.

But his comments did not rule out a meeting and nor has Vice President Pence.

Kim and Pence could be in the same room at a leaders' reception before the opening ceremony.

Pence lambasted Pyongyang on Wednesday during his visit to Tokyo that the US would impose its toughest sanctions to date on the country.