United Nations boss, Antonio Guterres wants the world not to take it for granted that there could be another war if there is no deliberate plan to avert it.

On Thursday, Guterres warned the world against "sleepwalking into war" over North Korea, as he called for diplomatic efforts to banish nuclear weapons from the Korean peninsula.

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"The worst possible thing that could happen would be for us all to sleepwalk into a war that might have very dramatic circumstances," said Guterres during a visit to Japan.

The UN Security Council has imposed three rounds of sanctions over the past year against North Korea over its increasingly powerful missile and nuclear tests.

Guterres said those sanctions need to be implemented "by North Korea first of all, but also fully implemented by all the other countries whose role is crucial".

He urged "diplomatic engagement that allows for...denuclearisation (of the Korean peninsula) to take place in a peaceful way".

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"It is important for all parties to understand the urgency of finding a solution," he told reporters at a later briefing.

Speaking alongside Guterres, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe echoed the call to "fully implement United Nations Security Council resolutions" and hold "meaningful dialogue toward denuclearisation".

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