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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 
ago.

   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 
nuclear accord.

   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 
fully denuclearize."

   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 
potential.

   "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 
will."

   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. 
leader.

   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 
Theresa May.

   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.


(KA)

 
 
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