Trump at UN to Confront NKorea Threat 09/24 05:37
President Donald Trump will again confront the dangers posed by North
Korea's nuclear threat to the U.N., though its shadow may appear somewhat less
ominous than a year ago.
BRIDGEWATER, N.J. (AP) -- As he begins the sequel to his stormy U.N. debut,
President Donald Trump will again confront the dangers posed by North Korea's
nuclear threat, though its shadow may appear somewhat less ominous than a year
Twelve months after Trump stood at the rostrum of the U.N. General Assembly
and derided North Korea's Kim Jong Un as "Rocket Man," the push to denuclearize
the Korean Peninsula is a work in progress, although fears of war have given
way to dreams of rapprochement. The president, whose bellicose denunciations of
Pyongyang have largely given way to hopeful notes, plans to sit down with South
Korean President Moon Jae-in, who comes bearing a personal message to Trump
from North Korea's Kim after their inter-Korean talks last week.
Trump and Moon were expected to sign a new version of the U.S.-South Korean
trade agreement, one of Trump's first successes in his effort to renegotiate
trade deals on more favorable terms for the U.S. Even so, some U.S. officials
worry that South Korea's eagerness to restore relations with the North could
reduce sanctions pressure on Kim's government, hampering efforts to negotiate a
The nuclear threat was on the agenda at Trump's first meeting, a dinner with
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Manhattan on Sunday night. Abe stands
first among world leaders in cultivating a close relationship with the
president through displays of flattery that he has used to advance his efforts
to influence the unpredictable American leader.
"We have our eyes wide open," Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told NBC's
"Meet the Press" on Sunday. "There is a long ways to go to get Chairman Kim to
live up to the commitment that he made to President Trump and, indeed, to the
demands of the world in the U.N. Security Council resolutions to get him to
Redoubling his commitment to "America First" on the most global of stages,
Trump will stress his dedication to the primacy of U.S. interests while
competing with Western allies for an advantage on trade and shining a spotlight
on the threat that he says Iran poses to the Middle East and beyond.
Scores of world leaders, even those representing America's closest friends,
remain wary of Trump. In the 12 months since his last visit to the U.N., the
president has jolted the global status quo by pulling out of the Iran nuclear
deal, starting trade conflicts with China and the West and embracing Russia's
Vladimir Putin even as the investigation into the U.S. president's ties to
Moscow moves closer to the Oval Office.
Long critical of the United Nations, Trump delivered a warning shot ahead of
his arrival by declaring that the world body had "not lived up to" its
"It's always been surprising to me that more things aren't resolved," Trump
said in a weekend video message, "because you have all of these countries
getting together in one location but it doesn't seem to get there. I think it
If there is a through line to the still-evolving Trump doctrine on foreign
policy, it is that the president will not subordinate American interests on the
world stage, whether for economic, military or political gain.
Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, told reporters in a
preview of Trump's visit, that the president's focus "will be very much on the
United States," its role and the relations it wants to build.
"He is looking forward to talking about foreign policy successes the United
States has had over the past year and where we're going to go from here," she
said. "He wants to talk about protecting U.S. sovereignty," while building
relationships with nations that "share those values."
In his four-day visit to New York, Trump will deliver major speeches and
meet with representatives of a world order that he has so often upended in the
past year. On Monday he is also set to participate in a Global Call to Action
on the World Drug Problem and then, in addition to Moon, meet with Egyptian
President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi and French President Emmanuel Macron.
Trump's address to the General Assembly comes Tuesday, and on Wednesday he
will for the first time chair the Security Council, with the stated topic of
non-proliferation of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons. The subject
initially was to have been Iran, but that could have allowed Iranian President
Hassan Rouhani to attend, creating a potentially awkward situation for the U.S.
Aides say the president will also use the session to discuss North Korea and
other proliferation issues. While Trump is not seeking a meeting with Rouhani,
he is open to talking with the Iranian leader if Rouhani requests one,
administration officials said.
In meetings with European leaders as well as during the Security Council
session, Trump plans to try to make the case that global companies are cutting
ties with Iran ahead of the reimposition in five weeks of tough sanctions
against Tehran. The penalties are a result of Trump's decision to withdraw the
U.S. from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.
Trump at the time cited Iran's role as a malign force in the region,
particularly its support of terrorist groups, but also its involvement in
Syria. U.S. officials say their priority for the region now is removing Iranian
forces from Syria.
Trump is also expected to deliver a fresh warning to Syria's Bashar al-Assad
that the use of chemical weapons against civilians in the major rebel
stronghold of Idlib would have serious repercussions. Britain and France are
actively planning a military response should Assad use chemical weapons again,
according to U.S. officials.
"I think he's got a couple major possibilities really to help illuminate for
the American people what America's place in the world," national security
adviser John Bolton told Fox News Channel's 'Sunday Morning Futures,"
previewing Trump's U.N. appearance.
Bolton, like Pompeo, is part of a far more hawkish national security team
than the one that surrounded Trump a year ago.
Meetings on the sidelines of the General Assembly often come in rapid
succession, a wearying test for even the most experienced foreign policy team.
Trump has a robust schedule during his stay in New York, including meetings
with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and British Prime Minister
But while some world leaders are still reeling from Trump's deference to
Putin in their summer Helsinki summit, there will not be an encore in New York:
The Russian president is not expected to attend the proceedings.