Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

UN chief affirms support for denuclearised North Korea

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is in South Korea (Jeon Heon-Kyun/AP/PA)
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is in South Korea (Jeon Heon-Kyun/AP/PA)

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has proclaimed unwavering UN commitment to a fully denuclearised North Korea, as a divided Security Council allows more room for the country to expand its nuclear weapons programme.

Meeting South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol in Seoul, Mr Guterres said he affirms the UN’s “clear commitment to the full, verifiable and irreversible denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula and DPRK (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea).”

“There’s a fundamental objective to bring peace, security and stability to the whole region,” he told Mr Yoon, while also praising South Korea’s participation in international peacekeeping efforts and fighting climate change.

South Korea UN
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, left, with South Korean Foreign Minister Park Jin during their meeting at the Foreign Ministry in Seoul (Jeon Heon-Kyun/AP/PA)

Mr Guterres, who arrived in South Korea on Thursday, later met South Korean Foreign Minster Park Jin for discussions that were expected to be centred around the North Korean nuclear threat.

North Korea has test-fired more than 30 ballistic missiles this year, including its first flights of intercontinental ballistic missiles since 2017, as leader Kim Jong Un pushes to advance his nuclear arsenal in the face of what North Korea has called “gangster-like” US-led pressure and sanctions.

The US and South Korean governments have also said the North is gearing up to conduct its first nuclear test since September 2017, when it claimed to have detonated a nuclear warhead designed for its ballistic missiles.

While the Biden administration has said it would push for additional sanctions if North Korea conducts another nuclear test, the prospects for meaningful punitive measures are unclear.

China and Russia recently vetoed US-sponsored resolutions at the UN Security Council that would have increased sanctions on the North over some of its ballistic missile testing this year, underscoring division between the council’s permanent members that has deepened over Russia’s war on Ukraine.

Mr Guterres’ meetings with South Korean officials came a day after North Korea claimed a widely disputed victory over Covid-19 but also blamed rival South Korea for the outbreak, vowing “deadly” retaliation.

The North insists its initial infections were caused by leaflets and other objects flown across the border on balloons launched by South Korea’s anti-Pyongyang activists, a claim Seoul describes as unscientific and “ridiculous”.