UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – North Korea’s nuclear threat looms large this week over the annual gathering of world leaders at the United Nations in New York, where diplomats are eager to hear U.S. President Donald Trump address the 193-member body for the first time.
North Korean diplomats will have a front-row seat in the U.N. General Assembly for Trump’s speech on Tuesday morning, which will touch on the escalating crisis that has seen Trump and Pyongyang trade threats of military action.
Despite his skepticism about the value of international organizations and the United Nations in particular, Trump will seek support for tough measures against North Korea, while pressing his “America First” message to the world body.
“This is not an issue between the United States and North Korea. This is an issue between the world and North Korea,” Trump’s national security adviser, H.R. McMaster, said on Friday.
U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres – who, like Trump, took office in January – plans to meet separately with “concerned parties,” including North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho, on the sidelines of the 72nd General Assembly.
“The solution can only be political. Military action could cause devastation on a scale that would take generations to overcome,” Guterres warned on Wednesday.
A week ago, the 15-member U.N. Security Council unanimously adopted its ninth sanctions resolution since 2006 over North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs.
U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said U.N. sanctions had banned 90 percent of the Asian state’s publicly reported exports, saying of Pyongyang on Friday: “This is totally in their hands on how they respond.”
Haley told CNN’s “State of the Union” program on Sunday that Washington had “pretty much exhausted” its options on North Korea at the Security Council.
Ri is due to address the General Assembly on Friday.
Some leaders will also push Trump not to give up on a 2015 deal curbing Iran’s nuclear ambitions in return for a lifting of U.N., U.S. and European sanctions, while Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said it was time to “fix it – or cancel it.”
The foreign ministers of Iran, the United States, Britain, Germany, Russia, China and France – the parties to the agreement – are due to meet on Wednesday ahead of an October deadline for Trump to tell Congress if he believes Tehran is sticking to what he has described as “the…