USA, North Korea war 'threatens humanity', pope warns

 ABOARD THE PAPAL PLANE -- Pope Francis has spoken out over escalating tensions between the United States and North Korea, warning President Donald Trump and Kim Jong-Un that a large scale war threatens the future of humanity.

 Speaking on board the papal plane returning to Rome from Cairo, the Latin American Pontiff called for a “diplomatic solution” to be negotiated. “A widespread war would destroy much of humanity, this is terrible,” Francis told journalists. “There is the need for a diplomatic solution and intervention of the United Nations who must resume its leadership.”

 In recent weeks the world has been looking nervously on after the US deployed warships to the North Korean peninsula in response to Pyongyang’s growing nuclear missile programme. In the face of these growing tensions, which has been likened to the 1962 Cuban missile crisis in slow motion, the Pope called for negotiation and diplomacy, pointing out that international organisations such as the UN had seen their influence “watered down”.

 The pope, who at one point had to be helped to steady himself as a result of in-flight turbulence, said he would be ready to receive President Trump in a papal audience although said he had yet to be informed of any official request for a meeting from the White House