Trump UN Speech a Message to China 09/22 06:08
President Donald Trump, who prefers speaking to boisterous crowds, is set to
give a prerecorded address to the U.N. General Assembly as he grapples with the
coronavirus pandemic, chilly relations between the U.S. and China and ongoing
threats from North Korea and Iran --- all during a heated campaign for
WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Donald Trump, who prefers speaking to
boisterous crowds, is set to give a prerecorded address to the U.N. General
Assembly as he grapples with the coronavirus pandemic, chilly relations between
the U.S. and China and ongoing threats from North Korea and Iran --- all during
a heated campaign for reelection.
Trump told reporters Monday that he'd have a "strong message" for China,
where the first cases of COVID-19 were reported, but he didn't elaborate ahead
of the Tuesday address. Earlier in his administration, Trump hosted Chinese
President Xi Jinping at his Florida club, but now the two leaders are
exchanging angry words over trade.
The administration has been slamming the Chinese Communist Party for its
handling of COVID-19, election meddling, espionage in the United States and
influence peddling across the world.
Trump is not popular at the United Nations and his speech this year comes at
a time when U.N. members are pushing back against Washington. On Monday, Trump
declared that all U.N. sanctions against Iran have been reimposed, a move that
most of the rest of the world rejects as illegal.
Trump's statement came shortly after he signed an executive order spelling
out how the U.S. will enforce the "snapback" of sanctions. "My actions today
send a clear message to the Iranian regime and those in the international
community who refuse to stand up to Iran," he said.
The U.S. said it was reimposing sanctions on Iran for being in noncompliance
with the 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and global powers. But Trump in 2018
pulled out of the deal in which Iran agreed to curb its nuclear program in
exchange for billions of dollars in sanctions relief.
Few U.N. member states believe the U.S. has the legal standing to restore
the sanctions because Trump withdrew from the agreement. The U.S. argues it
retains the right to do so as an original participant in the deal and a member
of the council.
The White House has not previewed his U.N. speech, but Trump was expected to
highlight agreements the U.S. brokered between Israel and the United Arab
Emirates and Bahrain. The historic agreements come as relations between the
Jewish state and Arab nations are thawing as a pushback against Iran.
The president likely will take credit for brokering economic cooperation
between Serbia and Kosovo and for pressuring NATO nations to meet their pledge
to spend 2% of their gross domestic product on their own defenses to lessen the
burden on the alliance.
He might also have words for North Korea's Kim Jong Un. In 2017, Trump told
the U.N. he was bringing a "message of peace," but then said that if the U.S.
was forced to defend itself against Kim, "we will have no choice but to totally
destroy North Korea." He called Kim "rocket man," but has since met with him
three times, although North Korea has not made a move to give up its nuclear
Trump's has tussled with multilateral organizations throughout his
presidency, although his aides say he is not against all multilateral groups,
only the ones that aren't effective. After COVID-19 took hold, Trump yanked
support from the U.N.'s World Health Organization, saying it was too beholden