Pope urges mediation to end North Korea crisis, avert devastating war

29 Apr

Pope Francis said on Saturday a third country, such as Norway, should try to mediate the dispute between North Korea and Washington, to cool a situation that had become “too hot” and posed the risk of nuclear devastation.

Francis said he believed “a good part of humanity” would be destroyed in any widespread war.

Speaking to reporters aboard the plane taking him back from Cairo, Francis also said he was ready to meet U.S. President Donald Trump when he is in Europe next month but that he was not aware that Washington had made a request for a meeting.

In answer to a question about the tensions between the United States and North Korea, Francis said the United Nations should re-assert its leadership in world diplomacy because it had become “too watered down”.

“I call on, and will call on, all leaders, as I have called on leaders of various places, to work to seek a solution to problems through the path of diplomacy,” he said about the North Korea crisis.

Francis spoke after North Korea test-fired a ballistic missile shortly after U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson warned that failure to curb Pyongyang’s nuclear and ballistic missile programmes could lead to “catastrophic consequences”.

In a fresh development, it was reported that US warships were carrying out drills off the Korean coast.

Appealing for calm, the Pope said: “There are so many facilitators in the world, there are mediators who offer themselves, such as Norway for example,” he said in his customary freewheeling news conference with reporters at the end of each trip.

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