The top civilian official at NATO had these grim words to describe today's threats

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg says North Korea’s nuclear and missile program is a “global threat” that the international community must respond to.

Speaking to the BBC on September 10, Stoltenberg described the behavior of North Korea as “reckless” and said NATO should part of “a global response.”

He called on North Korea to “abandon its nuclear programs” and its “missile programs, and to refrain from more testing” — saying recent North Korean nuclear and missile tests were “a blatant violation of several UN Security Council resolutions” and a “threat to international peace and stability.”

Jens Stoltenberg. Wikimedia Commons photo by Magnus Fröderberg/

Jens Stoltenberg. Wikimedia Commons photo by Magnus Fröderberg/

Stoltenberg refused to say whether an attack on the Pacific US territory of Guam would trigger NATO’s collective defense clause, saying “I will not speculate about whether Article Five will be applied in such a situation.”

Meanwhile, United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres said in an interview published on Sept. 10 that the dispute over North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic-missile programs is the world’s worst crisis “in years.”

“We have to hope that the seriousness of this threat puts us on the path of reason before it is too late,” Guterres told the French newspaper Le Journal du Dimanche.

“It’s the most serious [crisis] we have had to face in years,” he said, adding that he was “very worried.”

United Nations General Assembly hall in New York, NY. Wikimedia Commons photo by user Avala.

United Nations General Assembly hall in New York, NY. Wikimedia Commons photo by user Avala.

“In the past, we have had wars that have been initiated after a well thought-out decision,” he said.

“But we also know that other conflicts have started through an escalation caused by sleepwalking.”

Guterres said it was important to get Pyongyang to end development of its nuclear and ballistic-missile programs and respect UN Security Council resolutions.

“We must also maintain the unity of the Security Council at all costs, because it is the only tool that can carry out a diplomatic initiative with a chance of success,” he said.

Secretary General Antonio Guterres. US Mission Photo by Eric Bridiers.

Secretary General Antonio Guterres. US Mission Photo by Eric Bridiers.

The United States on Sept. 8 formally requested a vote of the Security Council on a US resolution to impose severe new economic sanctions on North Korea over its latest nuclear test, despite resistance from China and Russia.

The resolution, which the US mission to the UN said it wants a Security Council vote to be held on the issue on Sept. 11, would impose an oil embargo on North Korea and ban its exports of textiles as well as the hiring of North Korean laborers abroad, mostly by Russia and China.

It would also impose an asset freeze and travel ban on leader Kim Jong Un.

US officials have said they want tough sanctions to maximize pressure on Pyongyang to agree to negotiations aimed at ending its nuclear and missile tests.

North Korea's Hwasong-14 missile. Photo from KCNA

North Korea’s Hwasong-14 missile. Photo from KCNA

UN diplomats said the latest US proposals would be the toughest ever imposed on North Korea in punishment for its sixth and largest nuclear bomb test on Sept. 3.

News agencies Reuters and AFP cited UN diplomatic sources saying they doubted either Beijing or Moscow, both of which have the power to veto UN council resolutions, would accept anything more stringent than a ban on imports of North Korean textiles.

Chinese officials have expressed fear that imposing an oil embargo could trigger instability in North Korea, and Russian President Vladimir Putin has expressed concern that such stringent measures would hurt the nation’s impoverished citizens as much as they would punish the government.