UN chief says sanctions key to denuclearize North Korea

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said Thursday that unified efforts to fully implement sanctions on North Korea are key to resolve the country's growing missile and nuclear threat.

Guterres, who met with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Tokyo, also said that North Korea must be denuclearized for peace and stability in the region. Guterres was in Japan to attend an international conference on universal health coverage.

He said that Security Council resolutions need to be fully implemented not only by North Korea but also others. The measures are crucial to ensure that sanctions are in place and achieve the goal of denuclearizing the Korean peninsula, he said.

"Unity of the Security Council is crucial on this," he said, adding that it is also important to allow for a diplomatic engagement toward a peaceful resolution.

Abe said he agreed that possible dialogue with North Korea must be meaningful and aimed at the country's denuclearization.

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has said Washington is open to possible talks with North Korea but the White House says it must not only first refrain from provocations but take "sincere and meaningful actions toward denuclearization."