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UN chief calling for denuclearized Korean peninsula

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SINGAPORE—United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is urging U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to seize the opportunity “to support a peaceful, prosperous, secure, and verifiably-denuclearized Korean Peninsula.”

The U.N. chief is commending the two leaders for pursuing a diplomatic solution and “seeking to break out of the dangerous cycle that created so much concern last year.”

Guterres told reporters toay ahead of the Trump-Kim summit in Singapore that “peace and verifiable denuclearization must remain the clear and shared goal.”

The secretary-general said he wrote to both leaders last month saying “the road ahead will require co-operation, compromise, and a common cause.”

He added the U.N. system “stands ready to support this process in every way, including verification if requested by both parties.”

Former U.S. Defence Secretary William Perry, meanwhile, is warning that if Trump and Kim fail to reach a deal at their Singapore summit, there's an increased danger for a “catastrophic” military solution.

“If it falls apart, it's probably worse than as if we ever started,” Perry said.

He added he's hopeful the two leaders will discuss normalization of ties, as well as denuclearization, to improve the prospect for long-term success of any deal.

Perry also served as former U.S. president Bill Clinton's special envoy to North Korea, and travelled there in 1999 to discuss its nuclear and missile programs.

The White House said in a statement ahead of Trump's historic summit with Kim that talks with North Korea are moving “more quickly than expected.”

The White House noted Trump now plans to depart Singapore on Tuesday evening ahead of schedule.

The president had been expected to leave Singapore on Wednesday morning.

Seoul says Trump talked with South Korean President Moon Jae-in about his upcoming summit with Kim and expressed optimism for a diplomatic breakthrough.

South Korea's presidential office said Trump filled Moon on the details of the pre-summit negotiations between Washington and Pyongyang.

The Blue House didn't elaborate on what Moon was told during the 40 minute telephone call.

The Blue House said Moon told him South Koreans will be praying for a “miraculous result.”

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