Ban urges North Korea to negotiate

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged North Korean leadership to negotiate its nuclear nonproliferation during a speech on Thursday in the U.S.

Ban made the statements at the spring luncheon for the United Nations Hospitality Committee in New York on Thursday. During the speech, Ban praised the committee for bringing the U.N. together as a community while also addressing several world issues like North Korea and Syria.

Ban said the world is resolved to keep North Korea from becoming a nuclear weapon state and that the country's provocative acts, such as a recent nuclear test, must be stopped. Ban urged North Korea to talk with other world leaders in an effort to de-escalate the nation's recent volatile acts.

"I continue to urge the leadership in Pyongyang to return to the negotiating table," Ban said. "I have spoken with leaders in China, the United States, the Republic of Korea and many other countries. I recently met with South Korean President Park Geun-Hye. I firmly believe that her government's recent offer of dialogue is genuine. I hope that DPRK takes it seriously. As secretary-general, I will continue my efforts to facilitate meaningful dialogue."

Ban also expressed his concern about the conflict in Syria. He said the U.N. is doing what it can to find a political solution that will stop the violence.

"More than 70,000 people have been killed (in Syria)," Ban said. "More than five and a half million Syrians have fled their homes. The United Nations has set up a team to examine the troubling allegations of chemical weapons use. At the same time, we are pushing for a political solution that will bring lasting peace."