VIENNA  - North Korea’s third nuclear test and threats of military action are “completely unacceptable”, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in remarks published on Saturday, urging Pyongyang to feed its people and seek peace with South Korea.

Asked by Austria’s Profil magazine about North Korea’s nuclear test, military exercises and threats, Ban, a former South Korean foreign minister, said: “I find this completely unacceptable and it is also a challenge for the international community.” He said in an interview with Profil that he had urged the North Korean leadership to focus on the welfare of its own people in the face of serious economic problems.

“There is a serious humanitarian crisis in North Korea. Many people suffer from malnutrition,” he said, calling for dialogue and peaceful exchanges with South Korea. “(South) Korea has just elected a new president. That would be good timing for the leadership of the two parties to the conflict to discuss seriously how to encourage national reconciliation and to reduce tensions on the Korean peninsula, also in view of a possible reunification of the country.”