Former United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has taken a positive view of U.S President Donald Trump's tweets on North Korea.
Speaking to CNBC on Monday on the sidelines of the UBS China Conference in Shanghai, Ban downplayed concerns about what many have called Trump's reckless rhetoric in response to President Kim Jong Un's ballistic missile tests.
Trump's tweets, in which he mocked the North Korean leader and called him "rocket man," among other things, have caused significant controversy and sparked fears of escalation.
"There is a tendency to see President Trump's remarks as very provocative rhetoric. But I would like to interpret that in another way — these are strong words and (a) message of (the) international community given to North Korea," Ban said.
Ban's comments came ahead of what is set to be a momentous meeting between North and South Korean leaders in the border town of Panmunjom on Tuesday — more than two years since the last government-level talks were held. The proposal for talks originally came from South Korean President Moon Jae-In, who took office in May 2017 on the promise of opening dialogue with the North.
The upcoming talks represent an important effort to quell hostile activities near the countries' shared border; they take on a sense of urgency following the unprecedented pace of North Korean missile development in recent months. Ban, who is South Korean, described the current climate on the peninsula as possibly at its most tense since the end of the Korean War in 1953.