Syria looks to peace, North Korea to attack on US mainland

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Syria’s foreign minister told world leaders Saturday that victory against terrorists in his war-ravaged nation “is now within reach” while North Korea’s foreign minister said U.S. President Donald Trump’s insult to his country makes an attack against the U.S. mainland inevitable.

Global conflicts, threats and challenges dominated the fifth day of the U.N. General Assembly’s annual ministerial meeting, including an impassioned appeal for help from the prime minister of Dominica who said his hurricane-ravaged Caribbean island nation is in “the front line of the war on climate change.”

Syria’s Walid al-Moualem said his country is “marching steadily” toward the goal of rooting out terrorism. He pointed to “the liberation of Aleppo and Palmyra,” the end of the Islamic State extremist group’s siege of Deir el-Zour, “and the eradication of terrorism from many parts of Syria” by the Syrian army and its supporters and allies, including Russia and Iran.

Russia’s military said about two weeks ago that Syrian troops have liberated about 85 percent of the war-torn country’s territory from militants, a major turn-around two years after Moscow intervened to lend a hand to its embattled long-time ally.

But the spotlight Saturday was on North Korea’s Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho who said Trump’s insult calling the country’s leader Kim Jong Un “rocket man” makes “our rocket’s visit to the entire U.S. mainland inevitable all the more.”

Ri’s speech fueled the fiery rhetoric between the U.S. president and North Korea’s young leader.

Trump threatened in his speech to the 193-member world body on Tuesday to “totally destroy” North Korea if provoked. Kim, in an unusual direct statement to the world, responded pledging to take “highest-level” action against the United States.

Ri called the American leader “a mentally deranged person full of megalomania and complacency” with his finger on the “nuclear button.” He said Trump’s “reckless and violent words” have provoked “the supreme dignity” of the country.

“None other than Trump himself is on a suicide mission,” Ri told ministers and diplomats on Saturday. “In case innocent lives of the U.S. are lost because of this suicide attack, Trump will be held totally responsible.”

The annual gathering of presidents, prime ministers and monarchs has taken place against a backdrop of a spate of natural disasters — hurricanes that have ravaged the Caribbean and the United States and a major earthquake in Mexico. Climate…

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