“It is essential to make progress on disarmament and it is essential to be very firm on non-proliferation,” Guterres told reporters at the UN headquarters in New York on Friday.
“We cannot afford a world in which all of a sudden the number of countries with nuclear weapons multiplies. That will increase dramatically the risk… for rogue organizations to have access to them,” he warned.
Guterres said the onus was on the main nuclear powers and the “members of the Security Council to stay united in order to make sure that these objectives of denuclearization are reached.”
Guterres’ remarks came as his undersecretary-general for political affairs, Jeffrey Feltman, wrapped up a rare four-day visit to North Korea, which has been developing its missile and nuclear programs.
Touching on the issue of North Korea, Guterres said that he strongly believed that “a nonnuclear Korean Peninsula is essential for the peace and stability of the region.”
Guterres expressed his willingness to facilitate dialog between North Korea and countries involved in a dispute with Pyongyang, such as the United States, to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula.
“We want that to be achieved through meaningful dialog,” he said, adding that he was “a strong supporter of discreet diplomacy.”
“Let’s see what the effort can produce. And after the effort finishes, we will be able to say what kind of results were obtained or not obtained.”
The US and its regional allies Japan and South Korea strongly oppose North Korea’s weapons programs, which Pyongyang says it needs as a deterrent against hostile aggression.