Trump champions North Korea policy in U.N. speech

NEW YORK, Sept. 25 (UPI) — U.S. President Donald Trump said Tuesday in his speech before the United Nations General Assembly his administration has taken major steps on North Korea denuclearization — and the breakthroughs were possible with support from partner countries.

In a speech in which the president reaffirmed his rejection of multilateral cooperation at the heart of the United Nations system, Trump suggested the United States’ bilateral engagement with North Korea could provide a blueprint for how his administration would tackle foreign policy challenges.

“I would like to thank Chairman Kim [Jong Un] for his courage,” Trump said, but adding “so much more needs to be done. Sanctions remain until denuclearization.”

Trump said his “face-to-face” meetings with Kim were followed by “encouraging measures,” including the absence of provocations in 2018.

Making a direct link between his Singapore summit with the North Korean leader and the latest developments, Trump championed his bilateralism for the impact it has had on improving relations with North Korea.

Kim and Trump “had highly regarded conversations and meetings, we agreed it would be in both countries’ interest to pursue the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.”

A few weeks earlier, Trump had canceled U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo‘s trip to North Korea, citing lack of progress on denuclearization.

The situation reversed after South Korean President Moon Jae-in’s summit in Pyongyang with Kim last week.

“Special thanks to President Moon of South Korea, Prime Minister Abe of Japan and President Xi of China,” Trump said, during the speech where he also disparaged China for unfair trade practices.

On Monday, Trump and Moon met on the sidelines of the General Assembly and agreed to move forward with engaging North Korea.

But Trump’s speech, which drew laughter and stunned looks when he claimed his administration had accomplished “more than almost any other administration in the history” of the United States, was also filled with statements opposing multilateralism, championed by U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

Trump also said he expects countries with on-the-ground U.S. troops to pay their “fair share for the cost of their defense,” a statement that appeared to be aimed at NATO, and allies like South Korea and Japan.

“Our military will soon be more powerful than it has ever been before,” Trump said.

Earlier Guterres had warned the assembly of rising populism and polarization within nations.

Multinational cooperation “is under fire precisely when we need it most,” Guterres said Monday.


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