UN’s Guterres warns against ‘sleepwalking’ into war over North Korea

Above, the Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea hosts a reception in honor of the contributors of the successful test-fire of intercontinental ballistic missile Hwasong-15 in this photo released by the Korean Central News Agency on December 13. (KCNA via Reuters)
Updated 14 December 2017
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UN’s Guterres warns against ‘sleepwalking’ into war over North Korea

TOKYO: UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, warning against the danger of “sleepwalking” into war, said on Thursday that Security Council resolutions on North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs must be fully implemented by Pyongyang and other countries.
Guterres made the comments to reporters after meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Tokyo just days after US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson offered to begin direct talks with North Korea without pre-conditions.
The White House said Wednesday that no negotiations could be held with North Korea until it improves its behavior. The White House has declined to say whether President Donald Trump, who has taken a tougher rhetorical line toward Pyongyang, gave approval to Tillerson’s overture.
“It is very clear that the Security Council resolutions must be fully implemented first of all by North Korea but by all other countries whose role is crucial to ... achieve the result we all aim at, which is the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula,” Guterres said.
Guterres added that Security Council unity was also vital “to allow for the possibility of diplomatic engagement” that would allow denuclearization to take place.
“The worst possible thing that could happen is for us all to sleepwalk into a war that might have very dramatic circumstances,” he said.
Japan says now is the time to keep up maximum pressure on Pyongyang, not start talks on the North’s missile and nuclear programs. China and Russia, however, have welcomed Tillerson’s overture.
Abe, who spoke to reporters with Guterres, reiterated that dialogue needed to be meaningful and aimed at denuclearization.
“We fully agreed that the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula is indispensable for the peace and stability of the region,” Abe said.
Tillerson’s overture came nearly two weeks after North Korea said it had successfully tested a breakthrough intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) that put the entire US mainland within range. In September, North Korea fired a ballistic missile over the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido, the second to fly over Japan in less than a month.
North Korea appears to have little interest in negotiations with the United States until it has developed the ability to hit the US mainland with a nuclear-tipped missile, something most experts say it has still not proved.
UN political affairs chief Jeffrey Feltman, who visited Pyongyang last week, said on Tuesday senior North Korean officials did not offer any type of commitment to talks, but he believes he left “the door ajar.”


Scientific study finds asylum seekers boosting European economies

Updated 8 min 59 sec ago
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Scientific study finds asylum seekers boosting European economies

  • Asylum seekers contributed most to a country’s gross domestic product after three to seven years, the research found
  • The findings come amid a rise of anti-immigrant sentiment across Europe, where immigration peaked in 2015 with the arrival of more than a million refugees and migrants from the Middle East and Africa

NEW YORK: Asylum seekers moving to Europe have raised their adopted nations’ economic output, lowered unemployment and not placed a burden on public finances, scientists said on Wednesday.
An analysis of economic and migration data for the last three decades found asylum seekers added to gross domestic products and boosted net tax revenues by as much as 1 percent, said a study published in Science Advances by French economists.
The findings come amid a rise of anti-immigrant sentiment across Europe, where immigration peaked in 2015 with the arrival of more than a million refugees and migrants from the Middle East and Africa.
An annual report by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees released on Tuesday showed the global number of refugees grew by a record 2.9 million in 2017 to 25.4 million.
The research from 1985 to 2015 looked at asylum seekers — migrants who demonstrate a fear of persecution in their homeland in order to be resettled in a new country.
“The cliché that international migration is associated with economic ‘burden’ can be dispelled,” wrote the scientists from the French National Center for Scientific Research, the University of Clermont-Auvergne and Paris-Nanterre University.
The research analyzed data from Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Norway, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom.
Asylum seekers contributed most to a country’s gross domestic product after three to seven years, the research found. They marginally lowered unemployment rates and had a near-zero impact of public finances, it said.
Greece, where the bulk of migrants fleeing civil war in Syria have entered Europe, was not included because fiscal data before 1990 was unavailable, it said.
Chad Sparber, an associate professor of economics at the US-based Colgate University, said the study was a reminder there is no convincing economic case against humanitarian migration.
But he warned against dismissing the views of residents who might personally feel a negative consequence of immigration.
“There are people who do lose or suffer,” he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
“Immigration on balance is good,” he said. “But I still recognize that it’s not true for every person.”