Donald Trump says US may have to 'totally destroy' North Korea - latest news

Harriet Alexander

  • Donald Trump warns North Korea and Iran in UN speech
  • "Oppressive regimes cannot endure forever"
  • Condemns terrorists as "losers"
  • Insists US is not interested in imposing its values on anyone
  • Praises "beautiful vision" of the UN
  • Warns of threats from authoritarian regimes and terrorism
  • Trump pledges to 'Make the United Nations great'

President Donald Trump has delivered a stern warning to North Korea in his first speech to the United Nations general assembly – telling Kim Jong-un that “Rocket Man is on a suicide mission” and threatening the “total destruction” of his country should he attack the US.

The US president told the packed general assembly chamber that North Korea posed the greatest threat to the world with its flagrant disregard for international law.

In a speech seen by analysts as a return to George W. Bush’s “Axis of Evil” world view – only with Iraq removed from the list drawn up in 2002 – Mr Trump also spoke out against Iran, describing the country as an "economically depleted rogue state" whose chief export is violence. 

He denounced the Iran nuclear deal as an "embarrassment", in the latest sign that he plans to tear up or renegotiate the landmark accord.

Donald Trump at the UN

"Frankly, that deal is an embarrassment to the United States, and I don't think you've heard the last of it," he said. "Believe me. It is time for the entire world to join us in demanding that Iran's government end its pursuit of death and destruction." 

Mr Trump criticised Cuba and Venezuela, singling out Nicolas Maduro for particularly harsh denunciation. The Venezuelan president, he said, ruled over a “corrupt regime” that was starving its own people and had “seized power”.

Yet Mr Trump did indeed, as his UN ambassador Nikki Haley promised, “hug people”, as well as “slap” them.

He praised Antonio Guterres, the UN secretary-general, for his efforts to encourage reform. He thanked Jordan, Turkey and Lebanon for taking in refugees. And he celebrated Middle East leaders who had joined his summit in Saudi Arabia in May, saying that together they had made significant progress in fighting the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil).

The US president also said his nation did not seek to impose their world view on anyone, and devoted significant time to defending his America First policy.

“As president of the United States, I will always put America first - just like you, as leaders of your countries, will always and should always put your countries first,” he said.

“The United States will forever be a great friend of the world.

“But we can no longer be taken advantage of.”

As he left the UN he was asked how he felt his speech had been received.

“I think it went really well,” he said. “I said what I had to say.”

 

5:08PM

View from the Middle East

Our Middle East correspondent, Raf Sanchez, writes:

Donald Trump devoted a chunk of his speech to the “murderous regime” of Iran and its proxies like the Lebanese militant group Hizbollah. 

Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, who will speak in a few hours, is expected to spend his entire speech warning of the dangers of Iran and its influence in the Middle East. 

The risks of conflict between Israel and Iran's proxies were underlined earlier today when the Israeli military shot down what it said was an Iranian-made drone being operated by Hizbollah and launched from a Syrian regime airbase in Damascus. 

The Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) said the drone was on a reconnaissance mission over the Golan Heights and that they brought it down with a Patriot missile after it flew over the de-militarized zone between Syria and the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights. 

Lieutenant Colonel Jonathan Conricus, an IDF spokesman, said the shoot down should signal to Hizbollah “that the IDF will not tolerate any hostile activity against Israeli civilians or any violations of our sovereignty”. 

He added that Israel was “not looking escalate the situation”.

3:48PM

Trump concludes his 40 minute speech

Donald Trump at the UN

 

3:45PM

Trump ends his speech

Now we are calling for a great reawakening of nations.

History is asking us if we are up to the task.

Our hope is a world of proud, independent nations that embrace their duties, seek friendship, and seek common cause in the future of dignity and peace of the peoples of this earth.

We will fight together, sacrifice together and stand together for peace.

For justice, for humanity, and the almighty God that made us all.

3:43PM

Trump says most important question is:

Are we still patriots?

Do we revere them enough to preserve our culture?

3:41PM

Trump's previous remarks in speech on Iran

UNITED NATIONS (AP) - Trump says Iranian government is "economically depleted rogue state" whose chief export is violence.     

US President Donald Trump denounced the Iran nuclear deal as an "embarrassment" on Tuesday, in the latest sign that he plans to tear up or renegotiate the landmark accord.

"Frankly, that deal is an embarrassment to the United States, and I don't think you've heard the last of it," Trump told the UN General Assembly.

"Believe me. It is time for the entire world to join us in demanding that Iran's government end its pursuit of death and destruction."

3:40PM

Trump turns to Latin America

Trump singles out Cuba, then turns on Venezuela.

This corrupt regime imposed a failed ideology that created misery.

Trump at the UN

Says Maduro is "stealing power".

This situation is completely unacceptable, and we cannot stand by and watch.

We will help the Venezuelans regain their freedom, recover their country and restore their democracy.

The problem is not that socialism has been wrongly implemented. It has been faithfully implemented.

3:34PM

Trump thanks SG for efforts at UN reform

Trump praises Guterres for effort to reform.

Too often the focus of this organisation has not been on results, but on procedure.

For example, it is a matter of immense embarrassment that some countries sit on the human rights council.

He says the US pays a huge share of the budget, but that it is worth it if peace is enhanced. 

3:31PM

Trump on refugees

The US president says it is ten times cheaper to support a refugee in the region, rather than the US.

He thanks Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon for taking in so many refugees.

3:29PM

Trump calls terrorists "losers"

Laughter in the UN media center as he uses his favourite term...

3:27PM

Trump: "We will stop radical Islamic terrorism"

The United States is working to stop the loser terrorists.

I have also totally  changed the rules of engagement.

In Syria and Iraq we have made big gains.

 

3:21PM

Trump turns to North Korea

We must uphold respect for law, respect for borders and respect for culture.

Those who threaten us with chaos and turmoil and terror.

The scourge of our nations today is a small group.

If the righteous men do not confront the wicked few, then evil will triumph.

No one has shown more contempt for their own people than the depraved regime in North Korea.

We were all witness to the regime's deadly abuse when an innocent American student was returned to America, only to die.

We know it kidnapped a sweet 13 year old girl from a beach in her own country to kidnap her.

It is an outrage that some nations would not only trade with North Korea, but arm it.

The United States has great strength and patience.

Rocket man is on a suicide mission for himself, and his whole regime.

3:14PM

Trump: "We can no longer be taken advantage of"

I was elected not to take power but to give power to the people where it belongs.

Our government's first duty is to its people.

A president of the United States, I will always put America first - just like you, as leaders of your countries, will always and should always put your countries first.

All countries have an obligation to serve their people.

And the nation state remains the best vehicle to improve the lives of our people.

The United States will forever be a great friend of the world.

But we can no longer be taken advantage of.

3:12PM

Trump: "We do not seek to impose our way of life on anyone"

In America we do not seek to impose our way of life on anyone, but rather give them a shining example to watch.

3:09PM

Trump: "We live in a time of enormous opportunity"

Trump speaks of the opportunities facing the world, but also the threat of "authoritarian regimes" and "international criminal networks".

He says:

To put it simply, we meet at a time of immense promise and great peril.

We have it in our power to lift millions from poverty."

 

3:06PM

Trump lists his achievements so far as president

- stock market

- unemployment levels

- military spending

3:05PM

Trump begins

It is a profound honour to stand here in my home city, New York, and address the people of the world.

3:02PM

President of Brazil finishes speaking

Donald Trump is next.

2:53PM

President of the general assembly, Miroslav Lajcak, reminds politicians to keep their speeches to 15 mins

It's an important reminder from the Slovak foreign minister.

The longest speech to the general assembly was given by Fidel Castro, in 1960.

He spoke for four hours and 29 minutes...

Fidel Castro meets Richard Nixon in Washington DC in 1959

 

2:37PM

Guterres: "Multilateralism is more important than ever"

Guterres closes, to rapturous applause.

His main themes were nuclear weapons, climate change and the importance of multilateralism.

Antonio Guterres meeting Hassan Rouhani, president of Iran, on Monday

 

2:19PM

Who is Antonio Guterres?

Antonio Guterres, UN secretary-general

The Portuguese former prime minister took over from Ban Ki-moon in January, so this is his first general assembly at the head of the 192-nation organisation.

You can read more about him here.

2:16PM

Antonio Guterres begins speaking

The UN secretary-general is the first of 34 world leaders to speak today.

Here is the full list:

1.      Secretary-General of the United Nations - H.E. Mr. António Guterres, Secretary-General

2.      President of the General Assembly (opening) - H.E. Mr. Miroslav Lajčák, President of the 72nd Session of the General Assembly

3.      Brazil - H.E. Mr. Michel Temer, President

4.      United States of America - H.E. Mr. Donald J. Trump, President

5.      Guinea - H.E. Mr. Alpha Condé, President

6.      Switzerland - H.E. Ms. Doris Leuthard, President

7.      Slovakia - H.E. Mr. Andrej Kiska, President

8.      Nigeria - H.E. Mr. Muhammadu Buhari, President

9.      Czech Republic - H.E. Mr. Miloš Zeman, President

10.      France - H.E. Mr. Emmanuel Macron, President

11.      Liberia - H.E. Ms. Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, President

12.      Colombia - H.E. Mr. Juan Manuel Santos Calderón, President

13.      Tajikistan - H.E. Mr. Emomali Rahmon, President

14.      Zambia - H.E. Mr. Edgar Chagwa Lungu, President

15.      Lithuania - H.E. Ms. Dalia Grybauskaitė, President

16.      Qatar - H.H. Sheikh Tamim b in Hamad Al - Than, Amir

17.      Turkey - H.E. Mr. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, President

18.      Israel - H.E. Mr. Benjamin Netanyahu, Minister of State

 

Afternoon Session

19.      Mali - H.E. Mr. Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, President

20.      Monaco - H.H. Prince Albert II, Prince

21.      Poland - H.E. Mr. Andrzej Duda, President

22.      Egypt - H.E. Mr. Abdel Fattah Al Sisi, President

23.      Uzbekistan - H.E. Mr. Shavkat Mirziyoyev, President

24.      Armenia - H.E. Mr. Serzh Sargsyan, President

25.      Costa Rica - H.E. Mr. Luis Guillermo Solís Rivera, President

26.      Uganda - H.E. Mr. Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, President

27.      Sri Lanka - H.E. Mr. Maithripala Sirisena, President

28.      Estonia - H.E. Ms. Kersti Kaljulaid, President

29.      Guatemala - H.E. Mr. Jimmy Morales, President

30.      Afghanistan - H.E. Mr. Mohammad Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai, President

31.      Gambia (Republic of The) - H.E. Mr. Adama Barrow, President

32.      Bolivia (Plurinational State of) - H.E. Mr. Evo Morales Ayma, Constitutional President

33.      Mauritania - H.E. Mr. Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, President

34.      Honduras - H.E. Mr. Juan Orlando Hernández Alvarado, President

1:17PM

What will Trump say about Iran?

Donald Trump is expected to voice concern about Iran, which aides say he considers in violation of the spirit of a 2015 deal negotiated by his Democratic predecessor, Barack Obama, and aimed at containing Iran's nuclear program.

"Theirs is a shared menace and nations cannot be bystanders to history and if we don’t confront the threats now, they will only gather force and become more formidable," a senior White House official, briefing reporters on the contents of the speech, said of Iran.

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres meets with Iran's President Hassan Rouhani during a bilateral meeting at the United Nations on September 18, 2017 Credit: Kevin Hagen/Getty Images

Mr Trump has set US-Iran relations on a far more confrontational path than the detente Iranian President Hassan Rouhani enjoyed with Obama.

Mr Trump's rhetoric against Iran, coming as he appears to be leaning against recertifying the nuclear deal by a mid-October deadline, prompted a retort from Mr Rouhani on Monday.

Mr Rouhani told CNN that exiting the Iran nuclear deal "would carry a high cost for the United States of America, and I do not believe Americans would be willing to pay such a high cost for something that will be useless for them."

12:49PM

Fun facts: Front row for North Korea, beef for lunch

It's been dubbed the Super Bowl of diplomacy, the Oscars of world statesmanship: the UN General Assembly kicks off on Tuesday with US President Donald Trump in the spotlight as he makes his first address to the 193-nation body.

Here are a few fun facts about this year's gathering, from AFP:

Who's coming?

There are 90 heads of state, five vice presidents, 39 heads of government, three deputy prime ministers and 52 ministers.

At the rostrum for the first time will be Trump as well as France's Emmanuel Macron and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who has been in the top job for nine months.

Gambia's Adama Barrow is making his international debut after trouncing long-serving leader Yahya Jammeh.

Among the heavy hitters are Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and British Prime Minister Theresa May.

North Korea gets front-row seat 

As luck would have it, North Korea's Foreign Minister Ri Yong-Ho is getting a front-row seat at this year's General Assembly, sitting to the right of the rostrum.

Every year, the name of a country gets pulled out of a box to determine the alphabetical order of the seating arrangement.

This year's winner was the Czech Republic, which means the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, as North Korea is formally known, got the second seat in the front row.

Beef and potatoes for lunch

 Are UN cooks pandering to Trump's love of meat? One glance at the menu for the state luncheon on Tuesday and the question does comes to mind.

World leaders will enjoy pan-seared Japanese Wagyu beef tenderloin, Yukon gold potatoes, roasted asparagus and baby carrots.

The starters include roasted chanterelle mushrooms, haricots and grilled stone fruit served on a bed of lettuce.

The power lunch in a UN meeting hall will be crowned with a selection of chocolate mousses, fresh raspberries and passion fruit coulis.

A French Sancerre wine will be served at the start, followed by a California Cabernet Sauvignon and - in a nod to Guterres' native land - there will be a 40-year-old porto from Portugal on offer at the end.

Trump will be seated next to Guterres during the luncheon.

Also at the table will be Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Swiss President Doris Leuthard, Ecuador's Lenin Moreno, South Korea's Moon Jae-In, King Abdullah II of Jordan, Liberia's Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, Recep Tayyip Erdogan from Turkey, Dalia Grybauskaite of Lithuania and Alpha Conde of Guinea.

New York traffic mayhem

 For New Yorkers, the annual week-long UN General Assembly means traffic chaos as thousands of police are deployed and streets are shut down to make way for presidential motorcades.

Hotel prices are also at a premium.

Trump is staying at his Manhattan Trump Tower, which means that area is on lockdown.

12:39PM

What happened when Donald Trump met Boris Johnson at the UN?

Donald Trump made his maiden visit to the United Nations on Monday, arriving at what he described as "just a club for people to get together, talk and have a good time" - and making a beeline for Boris Johnson. 

Mr Trump hosted an event on Monday morning to discuss reform of the 72-year-old institution.

Walking to the stage at the front of the chamber, he shook hands and exchanged words with several representatives of the 120 countries who had signed a pledge supporting reform, and were therefore entitled to attend.

But when he saw Mr Johnson he stopped and greeted him warmly.

Mr Johnson engaged the president in animated conversation, which at one point led to Mr Trump shooting the Foreign Secretary a quizzical look.