Pope Sues For Peace In Korea Peninsula
Pope Francis has called for international mediation to ease rising tensions between the U.S. and North Korea over Pyongyang’s nuclear activity.
The pontiff suggested that Norway, for example, was “always ready to help”.
He warned the crisis risked sparking a devastating war in which “a good part of humanity” would be destroyed.
His comments come hours after North Korea test-fired another ballistic missile, which the U.S. and South Korea say exploded shortly after take-off.
The missile was fired from a site in South Pyeongan province, north of Pyongyang, South Korea said.
U.S. President Donald Trump accused Pyongyang of showing “disrespect” towards China and its president.
Mr Trump recently hosted Chinese President Xi Jinping and praised him for “trying very hard” on North Korea.
The test came just hours after the UN Security Council had discussed North Korea’s missile programme.
Speaking to reporters aboard his plane after a visit to Egypt, Pope Francis said: “There are so many facilitators in the world, there are mediators who offer themselves, such as Norway for example.”
He warned that the situation had become “too hot” and said: the “path is the path of negotiations, of a diplomatic solution”.
In 2003 six-party talks – involving the two Koreas, the U.S., China, Japan and Russia – were launched to address concerns over the North’s nuclear programme. But Pyongyang withdrew from the negotiations in 2009.
Tensions in the region have increased lately, with both North and South Korea conducting military exercises.
North Korea is believed to be continuing efforts to miniaturise nuclear warheads and fit them on long-range missiles capable of reaching the U.S.
It is not known what kind of missile was unsuccessfully launched on Saturday. However, U.S. officials told Reuters news agency that it was probably a medium-range missile known as a KN-17.
The land-based, anti-ship ballistic missile has already had two failures.