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UN chief urges dialogue in talks with N Korea ceremonial

AFP  |  United Nations 

UN Antonio Guterres urged North Korea's of state Kim Yong Nam to engage in dialogue on ending the nuclear crisis during a brief exchange in South Korea, a UN said today.

Kim and Guterres attended a dinner ahead of the opening of in Pyeongchang.

"He did have a brief exchange with Kim," said UN

Guterres reiterated "his expectation and hope that all parties will use dialogue to achieve the peaceful denuclearization of the Korean peninsula," he added.

Kim is leading the North Korean delegation to the Olympics that also includes Kim Yo Jong, the younger powerful sister of North Korean leader Un.

The UN said Guterres did not meet with Kim's sister.

The exchange with Kim however was the highest-level meeting between the UN and

Guterres has met with the and Pyongyang's to the Kim holds the title of of the presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly, making him technically the

The UN has been a strong supporter of the thaw in relations between and during the Olympics, which he maintains could provide the basis for a broader dialogue.

At an official lunch hosted by South Korean Moon Jae-in, Guterres expressed his "total support" to Moon for establishing "a very important positive development in inter-Korean relations.

"We hope that these will open a window of opportunity to allow for a strong diplomatic engagement aiming at the peaceful denuclearization of the Korean peninsula," said Guterres.

US has dismissed North Korea's decision to attend as a "distraction," and Vice President skipped the dinner on Friday.

In December, Guterres dispatched UN to for talks, but the came back with no commitment from to hold negotiations on the nuclear standoff.

North Korea's race to build an intercontinental ballistic missile that could hit the with a nuclear warhead has raised fears of a devastating conflict.

At the in September, President Donald Trump vowed to "totally destroy" if it launches an attack on the

has been adamant that North Korea must first freeze its military programs before talks can take place.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sat, February 10 2018. 00:45 IST