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Alleviating the "acute suffering of the poor" in North Korea must take priority over military action if the current crisis on the Korean peninsula is to be resolved, the umbrella group representing Catholic charities worldwide has said. Members of Caritas Internationalis met in Beijing from June 13-15 to discuss the growing tensions in northeast Asia following North Korea's recent nuclear weapon tests and its vows to strengthen its arms program. "Armed intervention in response to North Korea's belligerent actions will only cause further human tragedy and compound the suffering of the people there," said the Caritas Internationalis secretary-general, Lesley-Anne Knight. "Genuine negotiations with concrete outcomes for improving the daily living conditions of the people are vital steps in reducing the suffering and engaging with North Korea to find a solution to this crisis," she said. The U.N. Security Council imposed tougher sanctions on North Korea after the reclusive Pyongyang government conducted its second nuclear test May 25. The Security Council's unanimous action on June 12 included a stepped-up arms embargo and new financial curbs that would extend a list of North Korean entities, goods and individuals subjected to an assets freeze and travel ban first outlined in a 2006 resolution.

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