President Trump will this week play host at the United Nations General Assembly, where he’ll tackle a series of global challenges as he faces backlash from not just adversaries but allies in an organization he disparaged as a candidate.
Here’s what the Trump administration will be focused on for its first UN General Assembly.
North Korea continues to be the most difficult foreign policy challenge facing the White House, and Trump will be conducting diplomacy himself as he tries to win more support for his administration’s efforts to isolate and pressure the provocative regime.
Less than a month after the country’s sixth nuclear test — and its largest yet, at 250 kilotons — North Korea has said it intends to produce an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of carrying a nuclear warhead.
The latest test prompted a hard-fought and rare unanimous vote in favor of sanctions that included North Korean allies China and Russia. Passed one week ago Monday, they now ban over 90 percent of North Korean exports, limits its oil imports, and bans alternatives like natural gas.
That means time is running out, and as Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Sunday, “If our diplomatic efforts fail, though, our military option will be the only one left.”
President Trump appeared to tout the new sanctions in tweet.
I spoke with President Moon of South Korea last night. Asked him how Rocket Man is doing. Long gas lines forming in North Korea. Too bad!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 17, 2017
Candidate Trump bashed the U.N. for its “utter weakness and incompetence.”
“The United Nations is not a friend of democracy. It’s not a friend to freedom,” Trump told the American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s conference in 2016. “It’s not a friend even to the United States of America, where, as you know, it has its home. And it surely is not a friend to Israel.”
But administration officials say reform of the international forum, not withdrawal from it, is a top priority of his ambassador there. Nikki Haley showed up on her first day promising a “new day,” but explaining that the U.S. wanted “to show value at the U.N.”
Trump will participate in a forum on Monday with the U.N.’s senior leadership and the leaders of more than 120 other nations to discuss “Reforming the United Nations: Management, Security, and Development.”
Haley told reporters at the White House Friday that the…