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Haley: N. Korea Will Be 'Front and Center' at UN Assembly

  • VOA News

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley and national security adviser H.R. McMaster participate in a news briefing at the White House, in Washington, Sept. 15, 2017.

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said Friday that North Korea would be "front and center" when Donald Trump attends his first annual meeting of the General Assembly as president.

North Korea fired a missile Friday over Japan, its second launch over the country since Trump threatened in August to unleash "fire and fury" against Pyongyang if acts of aggression continued. The latest launch further raised alarm globally about North Korea's developing nuclear and missile programs.

Haley's remarks were made during a White House media briefing, at which national security adviser H.R. McMaster said "North Korea remains one of the most urgent and dangerous security problems."

Haley said recent sanctions against North Korea had "strangled their economic situation," and there was "not more to do diplomatically."

McMaster said the U.N. was "out of time" on the diplomatic front with Pyongyang but added "there is a military option." McMaster, also an Army lieutenant general, called on "all nations to address this problem short of war."

In addition to the North Korean crisis, Haley said the Iran nuclear deal and the Syrian civil war would also be administration priorities.

National sovereignty

Trump is expected to emphasize the importance of national sovereignty as he outlines Washington's role in global affairs during his General Assembly debut.

McMaster said one of Trump's main goals was to "uphold [national] sovereignty and accountability," and added that Trump would stress that "each country protects the security of its own people."

Trump has repeatedly voiced skepticism of global organizations such as the United Nations, and member nations may be looking for signs of change since the recent departures of White House nationalist advocates such as chief strategist Steve Bannon.

Trump has called for a reform of the U.N. to lower "out-of-control costs" and has complained the U.S. funds a disproportionate share of the U.N.'s budget.

On Monday, the president will host an event at U.N. headquarters with the intent of gaining support for his reform proposals. Haley said 120 countries had agreed to attend the meeting, at which Trump will propose a "massive reform package" that will make the U.N. "more effective."

The annual General Assembly begins Tuesday, when Trump will deliver his first address to the 193-member body.

"I think he will make quite an impact," Haley said of the president's address.

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