Trump to dou­ble down on U.S. pri­macy at U.N.

Austin American-Statesman - - FRONT PAGE - By Jonathan Lemire and Zeke Miller

A year af­ter his stormy de­but at the global fo­rum, pres­i­dent plans to re­turn with fo­cus on Amer­i­can in­ter­ests, threat from Iran.

BRIDGE­WA­TER, N.J. — Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump is poised to re­dou­ble his com­mit­ment to “Amer­ica First” on the most global of stages this week.

In the se­quel to his stormy U.N. de­but, Trump will stress his ded­i­ca­tion to the pri­macy of U.S. in­ter­ests while com­pet­ing with West­ern al­lies for an ad­van­tage on trade and shin­ing a spot­light on the threat that he says Iran poses to the Mid­dle East and be­yond.

One year af­ter Trump stood at the ros­trum of the U.N. Gen­eral As­sem­bly and de­rided North Korea’s Kim Jong Un as “Rocket Man,” the push to de­nu­cle­arize the Korean Penin­sula is a work in progress, although fears of war have given way to hopes for rap­proche­ment.

Scores of world lead­ers, even those rep­re­sent­ing Amer­ica’s clos­est friends, re­main wary of Trump. In the 12 months since his last visit to the U.N., the pres- ident has jolted the global sta­tus quo by pulling out of the Iran nu­clear deal, start­ing trade con­flicts with China and the West, and em­brac­ing Rus­sia’s Vladimir Putin even as the in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the U.S. pres­i­dent’s ties to Moscow moves closer to the Oval Of­fice.

Long crit­i­cal of the United Na­tions, Trump de­liv­ered a warn­ing shot ahead of his ar­rival by declar­ing that the world body had “not lived up to” its po­ten­tial.

“It’s al­ways been sur­pris- ing to me that more things aren’t re­solved,” Trump said in a week­end video mes­sage, “be­cause you have all of th­ese coun­tries get­ting to­gether in one lo­ca­tion, but it doesn’t seem to get there. I think it will.”

If there is a through­line to the still-evolv­ing Trump doc­trine on for­eign pol­icy, it is that the pres­i­dent will not sub­or­di­nate Amer­i­can in­ter­ests on the world stage, whether for eco­nomic, mil- itary or po­lit­i­cal gain.

Nikki Ha­ley, the U.S. am­bas­sador to the United Na­tions, told re­porters in a pre­view of Trump’s visit, that the pres­i­dent’s fo­cus “will be very much on the United States,” its role and the re­la­tions it wants to build.

In his four-day visit to New York, Trump will de­liver ma­jor speeches and meet with rep­re­sen­ta­tives of a world or­der that he has so of­ten up­ended in the past year.

On Mon­day af­ter­noon, Trump planned to sit down with South Korean Pres­i­dent Moon Jae-in, who comes bear­ing a per­sonal mes­sage to Trump from North Korea’s Kim af­ter their in­ter-Korean talks last week. Trump and Moon were ex­pected to sign a new ver­sion of the U.S.- South Korean trade agree- ment, one of Trump’s first suc­cesses in his ef­fort to rene- go­ti­ate trade deals on more fa­vor­able terms for the U.S.

Even so, some U.S. of­fi­cials worry that South Korea’s ea­ger­ness to re­store re­la­tions with the North could re­duce sanc­tions pres­sure on Kim’s gov­ern­ment, ham­per­ing ef­forts to ne­go­ti­ate a nu­clear ac­cord.

“We have our eyes wide open,” Sec­re­tary of State Mike Pom­peo told NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sun­day.

Trump’s ad­dress to the Gen­eral As­sem­bly comes Tues­day, and on Wed­nes­day he will for the first time chair the Se­cu­rity Coun­cil, with the stated topic of non-pro­lif­er­a­tion of nu­clear, chem­i­cal and bi­o­log­i­cal weapons. The sub­ject ini­tially was to have been Iran, but that could have al­lowed Ira­nian Pres­i­dent Has­san Rouhani to at­tend, cre­at­ing a po­ten­tially awk­ward sit­u­a­tion for the U.S. leader.

Aides say the pres­i­dent will also use the ses­sion to dis­cuss North Korea and other pro­lif­er­a­tion is­sues. While Trump is not seek­ing a meet­ing with Rouhani, he is open to talk­ing with the Ira­nian leader if Rouhani re­quests one, ad­min­is­tra­tion of­fi­cials said.

RICHARD DREW / AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS 2017

U.S. Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump ad­dresses the 72nd ses­sion of the United Na­tions Gen­eral As­sem­bly at the U.N. head­quar­ters.

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