August 24, 2019
New York--U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Friday urged Japan and South Korea to restore their relations as tensions were heightened further by Seoul's decision to scrap its intelligence-sharing pact with Tokyo.
While indicating his reluctance to "interfere in the bilateral relations," the U.N. chief said, "I can only wish that they will be able to solve whatever difficulties exist in their relationship."
The relationship between the two Asian countries is "very important for the regional cooperation," he told Japanese reporters in New York.
Guterres is scheduled to visit Japan to attend the Seventh Tokyo International Conference on African Development, or TICAD VII, to be held in Yokohama, south of Tokyo, from Wednesday.
He expressed concerns about the recent expiration of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty between the United States and Russia and other moves that might lead to arms race. He said the trends of disarmament seen in the 20th century are "being reversed."
It is necessary for Washington and Moscow to start talks to extend the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, or New START, Guterres stressed.
"All countries should cooperate in an effort for disarmament," the chief added.
Regarding the alleged human rights violations against ethnic minority Muslim Uighurs in their autonomous region in China, the U.N. leader said, "In all situations and also in counterterrorism activities, human rights need to be fully respected."
"We are hoping that (the U.N.) human rights high commissioner will soon be able to visit the region," he added.
Asked whether he will visit North Korea, Guterres said that he may go to the country if such a trip is useful. "I am here to serve," he said, adding that he has no objective to just grab headlines or show off. Jiji Press
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