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Pope calls for North Korea negotiations

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Pope Francis speaks to the press from aboard his plane on April 29, 2017, on his return flight from Cairo to Rome. GREGORIO BORGIA / POOL / AFP

Pope Francis on Saturday called for negotiations to resolve tensions surrounding North Korea’s nuclear ambitions.

Speaking on board the papal plane on his way back from a two-day visit to Egypt, the pontiff said there was a need for “negotiations with a view to a diplomatic solution”.

“There are plenty of mediators in the world who are putting themselves forward. Norway, for example which is ready to help,” he said.

Reprising his theme of “world war in parts”, Pope Francis said that these were “concentrated at points that were already hot. In Korea, today, it seems that things are becoming too heated.”

North Korea test-fired a ballistic missile Saturday in apparent defiance of a concerted US push for tougher international sanctions to curb Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons ambitions.

The latest launch, which South Korea said was a failure, came just hours after US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson warned the UN Security Council of “catastrophic consequences” if the international community — most notably China — failed to pressure the North into abandoning its weapons programme.


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