Trump tells UN 'sovereign nations' basis of world order

It's Donald Trump's first UNGA games and the diplomats are holding their breath to see what might happen.          Hannah Thomas-Peter

In his first major speech to the United Nations, President Trump on Tuesday threatened to "totally destroy" North Korea if it does not give up its nuclear weapons ambitions.

But it was Trump's remarks about North Korea that prompted the loudest buzz in the soaring, green-hued General Assembly hall, where Trump spoke to more than 100 world leaders and diplomats.

Despite the criticism, Trump has seen some of his top foreign policy victories emerge from the UN's Security Council, which has passed rounds of sanctions on North Korea for its ballistic missile program.

In a speech that emphasised Trump's America First policies‚ he focused strongly on issues in North Korea‚ calling its leader‚ Kim Jong-Un‚ a "rocket man on a suicide mission for himself".

Trump thanked China and Russian Federation for signing on to two sets of UN Security Council sanctions against North Korea, but said "we must do much more".

Trump labeled Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro's government a dictatorship, said it "has inflicted awful pain and suffering" and imposed a "failed ideology" on its people, and threatened unspecified US intervention.

He said the United States was prepared to combat global instability through military might.

Trump stated bluntly that certain parts of the world are "going to hell", suggesting it was within the UN's power to reverse course.

Nor did Trump explain why other countries would want to negotiate with an administration that's so eager to undermine America's global agreements, such as the Iran nuclear deal.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, speaking in Ottawa before heading to NY, called for diplomacy in the wake of Mr. Trump's comments.

Trump also derided a shift toward socialism in world politics, asserting that a century of history showed that its end result is always "great despair" and destruction.

Trump told reporters in August that "North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States".

Trump said the United States would continue to pursue "principled realism" on the worldwide stage.

Trump said the Iran nuclear deal was "one of the worst and most one-sided transactions the United States has ever entered into".

While the United States' nuclear arsenal, hundreds of times larger than North Korea's, would certainly devastate that country, the humanitarian implications could be catastrophic: North Korea is home to 26 million people, while numerous 25 million people in metropolitan Seoul, capital of South Korea, live 50 kilometres or so from the North Korean border. On Monday, he met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to discuss peace in the Middle East, which Trump has boasted he can reach, as well as the Iran nuclear agreement, which Netanyahu fiercely opposes. "But in fulfilling our obligations to other nations we also realize it's in everyone's interest to seek a future where all nations can be sovereign, prosperous and secure".

He thundered often about putting "America first", and has withdrawn from what he considered multilateral agreements that he found unfavourable to the United States, such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, a Trump ally, wrote on Twitter, "In over 30 years in my experience with the United Nations, I never heard a bolder or more courageous speech". He reminded the world of Otto Warmbier, an American who was imprisoned and returned to the United States earlier this year in a vegetative state, days before he died.

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