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Aug 16, 12:49 PM EDT

The Latest: UN chief urges turn down rhetoric on Korea

BEIJING (AP) -- The Latest on the North Korea crisis (all times local):

11:45 p.m.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres says tensions on the Korean peninsula are at their highest level in decades and it's important "to dial down the rhetoric and to dial up diplomacy."

The U.N. chief told reporters Wednesday that the world needs to heed the lessons of history and not repeat the mistakes that led to the Korean War, which started 67 years ago and killed more than 3 million people.

Guterres said that on Tuesday he told representatives of the countries in the stalled six-party talks - North Korea, South Korea, the U.S., Russia, China and Japan - that his "good offices are always available."

He said the international community must send a clear message to North Korea's leadership to comply with its international obligations, reopen communications and deescalate the situation,

8:10 p.m.

Russia says it's against further tightening sanctions on North Korea, warning that economic pressure on Pyongyang has reached its limit.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov warned Wednesday "we can't support ideas by some of our partners to suffocate North Korea economically with all the negative and tragic humanitarian consequences for its citizens."

Lavrov, speaking at a news conference in Moscow, added that the "potential for economic pressure has been practically exhausted" and emphasized the need to encourage political settlement.

He reaffirmed a call by China and Russia for the U.S. to suspend annual military exercises with South Korea in exchange for Pyongyang halting its missile and nuclear tests as a first step toward direct talks.


8 p.m.

President Donald Trump says in a tweet that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un "made a very wise and reasonable decision" amid indications his country has decided not to proceed with its multiple missile launch toward Guam.

Trump says: "The alternative would have been both catastrophic and unacceptable!"

During an inspection of the North Korean army's Strategic Forces, which handles the missile program, Kim praised the military for drawing up a "close and careful plan" and said Tuesday he would watch the "foolish and stupid conduct of the Yankees" a little more before deciding whether to order the missile test, according to the state-run Korean Central News Agency.

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