Trump sets aside dis­trust to seek al­lies

The Mercury News - - Front Page - By Mar­garet Talev

Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump will em­bark on a whirl­wind se­ries of meet­ings next week at the United Na­tions Gen­eral As­sem­bly to make two big asks of the world: Stand with us against North Korea, and hold the line against Iran’s nu­clear pro­gram.

Over the course of four days, be­gin­ning Mon­day, Trump will en­gage in a speed round of diplo­macy that may test his patience for the fac­tion­al­ized, lethar­gic in­sti­tu­tion as well as his pref­er­ence for one-on-one deal­mak­ing in which the U.S. al­ways holds the strong­est hand.

“Next week is not go­ing to be short on top­ics,” the U.S. am­bas­sador to the United Na­tions, Nikki Ha­ley, told re­porters at the White House on Fri­day. She ac­knowl­edged that for­eign lead­ers are cu­ri­ous about how the un­pre­dictable U.S. pres­i­dent will ma­neu­ver.

“They are all very anx­ious to hear what he has to say,” Ha­ley said. “And I think that he will make quite an im­pact.”

Trump’s ap­pear­ance at the U.N. — high­lighted by an ad­dress Tuesday be­fore the world body — is his big­gest mo­ment on the world stage since tak­ing of­fice. There is far more at stake than at the two eco­nomic sum­mits in Europe he at­tended ear­lier this year. As he wel­comes lead­ers from nearly 200 na­tions to his home­town of New York, he’ll press them to join U.S. ef­forts to con­strain mis­sile and nu­clear pro­grams in both North Korea and Iran.

Ten­sions have risen sharply with both na­tions since Trump took of­fice and as­sumed a more con­fronta­tional pos­ture than his pre­de­ces­sor, Barack Obama.

“The world is still try­ing to take the mea­sure of this pres­i­dent,” said Jon Al­ter­man, se­nior vice pres­i­dent of the Cen­ter for Strate­gic and In­ter­na­tional Stud­ies. “For a num­ber of lead­ers, this is go­ing to be their first chance to see him, to judge him, to try to get on his good side.”

In New York, Trump will hold a se­ries of in­di­vid­ual and small-group meet­ings with lead­ers from the Mideast, Latin Amer­ica, Africa and Europe. He’ll head­line the U.N. sec­re­tary gen­eral’s re­form cam­paign, a 120-na­tion ini­tia­tive. He’ll also con­tinue two tra­di­tions of pres­i­dents at the U.N.: the ma­jor speech, on Tuesday, and a diplo­matic re­cep­tion planned for Mon­day evening.

“I per­son­ally think he slaps the right peo­ple, he hugs the right peo­ple, and he comes out with the U.S. be­ing very strong in the end,” said Ha­ley, who has seen a draft of Trump’s ad­dress.

In ad­di­tion to Trump and Ha­ley, Vice Pres­i­dent Mike Pence, Sec­re­tary of State Rex Tiller­son, Na­tional Se­cu­rity Ad­viser H.R. McMaster, the pres­i­dent’s ad­viser and sonin-law, Jared Kush­ner, and his Na­tional Eco­nomic Coun­cil di­rec­tor, Gary Cohn, are all ex­pected to at­tend events in New York next week. Two key for­eign lead­ers will not be on hand: Rus­sian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin and Chi­nese Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping.

Obama is also ex­pected to be in New York dur­ing the U.N. gath­er­ing, for an event spon­sored by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foun­da­tion that will draw in­ter­na­tional fig­ures.

The North Korean and Ira­nian nu­clear pro­grams are fore­most on the pres­i­dent’s agenda. North Korea test-fired a bal­lis­tic mis­sile with the range to reach Guam early on Fri­day, its latest in a se­ries of provo­ca­tions, and the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion is seek­ing to ex­tend and strengthen the Ira­nian nu­clear deal that Obama signed and Trump has re­peat­edly ma­ligned.

Trump will dis­cuss the North Korea cri­sis over lunch with the lead­ers of South Korea and Ja­pan.

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