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Trump to Address World Leaders at U.N. as North Korea Threat Looms

North Korean diplomats will have a front-row seat in the General Assembly for President Donald Trump's speech Tuesday morning.
Image: Donald Trump Delivers Commencement Address At U.S. Coast Guard Academy
President Donald Trump at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in New London, Connecticut, in May.Drew Angerer / Getty Images
/ Source: Reuters

NEW YORK — 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 President Donald Trump address the 193-member body for the first time.

North Korean diplomats will have a front-row seat in the General Assembly on Tuesday morning for Trump's speech, which will touch on the escalating crisis that has seen Washington 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 Friday.

U.N. Secretary-General António 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 Security Council unanimously adopted its ninth sanctions resolution since 2006 over North Korea's nuclear and ballistic missile programs.

The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, said U.N. sanctions had banned 90 percent of North Korea's publicly reported exports, saying Friday: "This is totally in their hands on how they respond."

Haley said Sunday on CNN's "State of the Union" that Washington had "pretty much exhausted" its options on North Korea at the Security Council.

Ahead of the assembly, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov met Sunday in New York. No details of the meeting, which both governments confirmed, were immediately available.