Pope Francis is warning that “a good part of humanity” will be destroyed if tensions with North Korea escalate, and he is calling for diplomacy and a revived United Nations to take the lead in negotiating a resolution. Francis was asked as he traveled back to Rome from Egypt on Saturday about North Korean ballistic missile tests and U.S. warnings of “catastrophic” consequences if the world fails to stop them. He was asked specifically what he would tell U.S. President Donald Trump, who has sent a U.S. carrier to conduct drills near the Koreas, and other leaders to try to diffuse the tensions. Francis says he would urge them to use diplomacy and negotiation “because it’s the future of humanity.”
Today, a wider war will destroy not a small part of humanity, but a good part of humanity and culture. Everything. Everything, no? It would be terrible. I don’t think humanity today could bear it
His comments came at a moment of particularly high tension: Hours earlier, a North Korean mid-range ballistic missile apparently failed, the third flop in a month. On Friday, the U.N. Security Council held a ministerial meeting on Pyongyang’s escalating weapons program. North Korean officials boycotted the meeting, which was chaired by U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. North Korean ballistic missile tests are banned by the United Nations because they’re seen as part of the North’s push for a nuclear-tipped missile that can hit the U.S. mainland. Francis said the U.N. should regain its leadership in conflict resolution, saying it had been “watered down” over time.