Belfast Telegraph

North Korea talks vital amid nuclear threat, Nobel Peace laureate says

Nobel Peace laureate Mairead Maguire has called for dialogue with North Korea in order to save the country from destruction amid an escalating nuclear threat.

Ms Maguire, nee Corrigan, was awarded the Nobel accolade in 1976 along with fellow Belfast woman Betty Williams in recognition of their work in founding the Peace People campaign group during the Troubles.

She made the plea in a speech at a Belfast conference on the similarities and differences between the conflict in Northern Ireland and North-South Korea tensions.

Ms Maguire said: "North Korea is on the brink of being destroyed if we don't raise our voices as men and women around the world and say - 'we don't need war, we can talk and solve this problem'.

"My biggest question now is how can we humanise each other? The biggest borders we have is in our thinking and our rationale.

"Don't demonise your leadership. See Trump's humanity, see chairman Kim Jong Un's, see his possibilities.

"Don't be a negative thought finder dehumanising because once you allow - and this is a favourite tactic by western governments - the demonisation of the leader of any country, it allows people like us to see them as the enemy and then you can kill them, you can bomb them and dominate, you can control them any which way you want."

Ms Maguire said she had visited North Korea as part of an international peace project.

She added: "I was so moved by the North Korean people - such a gentle, loving and kind people who have been demonised by the world and isolated and marginalised by the world, and what they want to say is - 'we want peace, we want a peace agreement, we want to be able to walk across the border to see our brothers and sisters in South Korea'."

Recent weeks have seen an escalation in tensions surrounding North Korea after the country fired a number of missiles.

Last Friday, the country launched its latest missile over Japan, which is thought to have been its furthest-reaching test missile so far.

The UN Security Council condemned the strikes as "highly provocative" and imposed a number of sanctions.

In response, the North Korean government called the sanctions "the most vicious, unethical and inhumane act of hostility" in a statement carried by the state's official media outlet.

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