Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Trump tells UN Kim is ‘terrific’



Trump tells UN Kim is ‘terrific’

Trump tells UN Kim is ‘terrific’

US President Donald Trump on Monday said he expects to hold a second summit soon with Kim Jong-un, lauding the North Korean strongman at the United Nations as “terrific” one year after he eviscerated him from the same platform.

Trump used his debut address to the UN General Assembly 12 months ago to threaten to “totally destroy” North Korea and belittled its leader as “rocket man”, prompting Kim to respond by calling the US president “mentally deranged”.

But returning to New York for this year’s gathering, Trump hailed “tremendous progress” to halt Pyongyang’s nuclear and ballistic missile tests and said that a year later it was a “much different time”.

“Chairman Kim has been really very open and terrific, frankly, and I think he wants to see something happen,” Trump said after meeting South Korean President Moon Jae-in, a dove who recently visited Kim in Pyongyang.

“I think within a fairly short period of time that [summit] will be announced. It will be at a location to be determined, but we’re both very much looking forward to having it.”

Trump, who met Kim in Singapore in June in the first ever summit between the two countries that have never signed a peace treaty, earlier told reporters that he appreciated “a beautiful letter” the young North Korean leader had sent to him.

While relations with Kim have improved dramatically, leaders attending the annual assembly expect this year to hear Trump espouse a hard line on a different US adversary, Iran’s Hassan Rouhani.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo – who has visited Pyongyang three times – will preside over a Security Council meeting Thursday to explain the administration’s imposition of sanctions on North Korea, which has hit Chinese and Russian companies.

Scepticism remains about whether Kim has taken any concrete steps, but that seems unlikely to deter Trump from pushing toward a new summit in what he considers a key foreign policy achievement.

In his 41-minute speech at the General Assembly in 2017, Trump made clear he wanted to turn the clock back on the last half-century’s growth of global rules and institutions and to return to the primacy of the nation state.

His national security adviser, John Bolton, said that Trump would stress defence of US sovereignty in his latest UN address on Tuesday.

The UN’s number one financial backer, the United States has moved under Trump to cut funding to the world body, notably to peacekeeping missions that are key to the UN’s goal of promoting peace and security.

“The United Nations has tremendous potential and that potential is being met, slowly but surely,” Trump told a meeting on combatting drugs attended by UN chief Antonio Guterres.

Pressure on Iran

While Trump will dial down the rhetoric against Kim, there seems to be little prospect of him doing likewise with Rouhani.

The United States annoyed many of its allies in Europe by pulling out of a deal they jointly negotiated in 2015 that lifted sanctions against Tehran in exchange for restrictions on its nuclear program.

US allies in the Middle East, notably Saudi Arabia, have, however, been delighted by Trump’s stance on Iran.

Bolton said the United States was seeking to ramp up pressure on Iran but not to overthrow the regime – an idea he supported before taking his job and reiterated recently by former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani, who is Trump’s personal lawyer.

“As I have said repeatedly, regime change in Iran is not the administration’s policy,” Bolton told reporters.

“We’ve imposed very stringent sanctions on Iran, more are coming, and what we expect from Iran is massive changes in their behavior,” he said.

On Wednesday, Trump will for the first time chair a Security Council meeting on non-proliferation that will focus heavily on Iran, likely triggering a clash with other big powers.

The White House has not closed the door on a Rouhani-Trump meeting. But Rouhani, in an interview with NBC News after arriving in New York, saw such an offer as hypocritical.

“Naturally, if someone is keen on having a meeting and holding dialogue and creating progress in relationships, that person would not use the tool of sanctions and threats [and bring] to bear all of its power against another government and nation,” Rouhani said.

Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Monday accused US allies Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates of supporting Arab separatists allegedly behind an attack on a military parade last week that killed 24 people.

MOST VIEWED

  • Phnom Penh placed in two-week lockdown

    The government has decided to place Phnom Penh in lockdown for two weeks, effective April 14 midnight through April 28, as Cambodia continues to grapple with the ongoing community outbreak of Covid-19, which has seen no sign of subsiding. According to a directive signed by Prime Minister

  • Cambodia on the verge of national tragedy, WHO warns

    The World Health Organisation (WHO) in Cambodia warned that the country had reached another critical point amid a sudden, huge surge in community transmission cases and deaths. “We stand on the brink of a national tragedy because of Covid-19. Despite our best efforts, we are

  • Hun Sen: Stay where you are, or else

    Prime Minister Hun Sen warned that the two-week lockdown of Phnom Penh and adjacent Kandal provincial town Takmao could be extended if people are not cooperative by staying home. “Now let me make this clear: stay in your home, village, and district and remain where

  • Vaccination open to foreigners in Cambodia

    The Ministry of Health on April 8 issued an announcement on Covid-19 vaccination for foreigners residing and working in Cambodia, directing the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training and local authorities to register them. Health minister Mam Bun Heng, who is also head of the inter-ministerial

  • Ministry names types of business permitted amid lockdown

    The Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training singled out 11 types of business that are permitted to operate during the lockdown of Phnom Penh and Takmao town, which run through April 28. Those include (1) food-processing enterprises and slaughterhouses; (2) providers of public services such as firefighting, utility and

  • Culture ministry: Take Tuol Sleng photos down, or else

    The Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts has told Irish photographer Matt Loughrey to take down the photos of Khmer Rouge victims at Tuol Sleng Genocidal Museum which he allegedly colourised and altered to show them smiling. The ministry said Loughrey's work is unacceptable, affecting