UN chief Guterres gives grim state-of-the-world report

Portugal’s home-grown leader of the United Nations has warned world leaders and monarchs today not to “sleepwalk” into a nuclear war with North Korea.

Former PS prime minister António Guterres was making his first ‘state-of-the-world report’ since taking the reins of the United Nations on January 1.

He put ‘nuclear peril’ as the world’s leading threat in a speech that stressed “fiery talk can lead to fatal misunderstandings”.

The terminology was “implicitly directed at North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, but also at the United States and President Donald Trump who has warned of ‘fire and fury’ if North Korea does not back down”, writes Associated Press.

Stressing that the nuclear threat is at its highest level since the Cold War, Guterres told his audience: “It is time for statesmanship”, as millions of people are living in fear “under a shadow cast by the provocative nuclear and missile tests” of North Korea.

But beyond the nuclear peril, Guterres painted a grim picture of a troubled world facing grave challenges with many people “hurting and angry” because they see “insecurity rising, inequality growing, conflict spreading and climate changing”.

“Societies are fragmented,” he said. “Political discourse is polarized. Trust within and among countries is being driven down by those who demonize and divide.”

“We are a world in pieces,” Guterres said. “We need to be a world at peace.”

It was a stirring speech though the spotlight at the general assembly’s annual meeting was on the United States’ President Trump and France’s Emmanuel Macron, said AP, adding further down its text that “Trump told leaders that the United States seeks harmony and friendship” but he threatened to “totally destroy North Korea” if the U.S. is forced to defend itself or its allies against aggression.

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