Pope warns world about Korean tensions

2017-04-30 10:56
(Alberto Pizzoli, AFP)

(Alberto Pizzoli, AFP)

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Vatican City - Pope Francis is warning that "a good part of humanity" will be destroyed if tensions with North Korea escalate, and he is calling for diplomacy and a revived United Nations to take the lead in negotiating a resolution.

Francis was asked as he travelled back to Rome from Egypt about North Korean ballistic missile tests and US warnings of "catastrophic" consequences if the world fails to stop them. He was asked specifically what he would tell US President Donald Trump, who has sent a US carrier to conduct drills near the Koreas and other leaders to try to diffuse the tensions.

Francis says he would urge them to use diplomacy and negotiation "because it's the future of humanity."

"Today, a wider war will destroy not a small part of humanity, but a good part of humanity and culture. Everything. Everything, no? It would be terrible. I don't think humanity today could bear it," he told reporters.

His comments came at a moment of particularly high tension: Hours earlier, a North Korean mid-range ballistic missile apparently failed, the third flop in a month.

On Friday, the UN Security Council held a ministerial meeting on Pyongyang's escalating weapons program. North Korean officials boycotted the meeting, which was chaired by US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

North Korean ballistic missile tests are banned by the United Nations because they're seen as part of the North's push for a nuclear-tipped missile that can hit the US mainland.

Francis said the UN should regain its leadership in conflict resolution, saying it had been "watered down" over time.

Trump has sent a nuclear-powered submarine and the USS Carl Vinson aircraft super carrier to Korean waters, and North Korea conducted large-scale, live-fire exercises on its eastern coast. The US and South Korea also started installing a missile defense system that is supposed to be partially operational within days and their navies began joint military drills on Saturday.


Read more on:    pope francis  |  vatican city

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