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United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres addresses the 72nd United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters in New York, U.S., September 19, 2017. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

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UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres appealed on Tuesday for statesmanship to avoid war with North Korea and criticized world leaders stoking resentment over refugees for political gain, two apparent digs at President Donald Trump.

In his first address to the annual gathering of world leaders at the 193-member U.N. General Assembly since taking office in January, Guterres said the North Korea crisis must be solved through a political process.

"This is the time for statesmanship," said the former prime minister of Portugal. "We must not sleepwalk our way into war."

With tensions escalating over North Korea's continued nuclear and ballistic missile testing in a bid to give it the ability to target the United States with a powerful, nuclear-tipped missile, Trump has warned of U.S. military action.

The U.N. Security Council has unanimously imposed nine rounds of sanctions on North Korea since 2006 and Guterres appealed for the 15-member body to maintain its unity on North Korea.

Guterres, a former head of the U.N. refugee agency, also spoke of being "pained to see the way refugees and migrants have been stereotyped and scapegoated - and to see political figures stoke resentment in search of electoral gain."

(Reporting by Michelle Nichols)

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Reuters