If the warnings of mere mortals are not adhered to, may be the world will have to listen to its number one pontiff - Pope Francis.

The world is on the “brink” of nuclear war, the Pope warned on Monday, as he set off on a trip to Chile and Peru that threatens to become overshadowed by sexual abuse scandals.

“Yes, I am really afraid. We are on the brink. We only need an accident to trigger war,” Francis said in in-flight comments to reporters, as quoted by the ANSA news agency.

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“If we go on like this the situation risks precipitating.

“So, we need to destroy the weapons and to strive for nuclear disarmament,” he added.

On Francis’ instructions, reporters on the papal plane were each given a picture of a child survivor of the Nagasaki bomb carrying his dead brother, with the inscription: “the fruit of war”.

The same picture has been circulated by the Vatican over the Christmas and New Year period, in a show of the pope’s concerns about a new nuclear conflict.

The pope’s appeal came as North and South Korea held working-level talks on Monday, raising hopes that months of rising tensions over Pyongyang’s nuclear and ballistic missile programmes may be easing.

Also Read: These Guys Don’t Want Pope Francis In Chile

Francis said January 10 that the global community must “support every effort at dialogue” with North Korea.

Francis was expected to arrive in the capital Santiago de Chile late on Monday, and to travel on Thursday to neighbouring Peru, where an earthquake killed one person and injured dozens on Sunday.

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