Here’s what the Trump administration will be focused on for its first UN General Assembly.
North Korea continues to be the most difficult foreign policy challenge facing the White House, and Trump will be conducting diplomacy himself as he tries to win more support for his administration’s efforts to isolate and pressure the provocative regime.
The latest test prompted a hard-fought and rare unanimous vote in favor of sanctions that included North Korean allies China and Russia. Passed one week ago Monday, they now ban over 90 percent of North Korean exports, limits its oil imports, and bans alternatives like natural gas.
That means time is running out, and as Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Sunday, “If our diplomatic efforts fail, though, our military option will be the only one left.”
President Trump appeared to tout the new sanctions in tweet.
Candidate Trump bashed the U.N. for its “utter weakness and incompetence.”
But administration officials say reform of the international forum, not withdrawal from it, is a top priority of his ambassador there. Nikki Haley showed up on her first day promising a “new day,” but explaining that the U.S. wanted “to show value at the U.N.”
Trump will participate in a forum on Monday with the U.N.’s senior leadership and the leaders of more than 120 other nations to discuss “Reforming the United Nations: Management, Security, and Development.”
Haley told reporters at the White House Friday that the organization "stopped focusing on the commas and the periods" and was "actually acting."
The administration called for severe cuts in funding to the organization -- funding that the U.N. says it cannot do its work without.
“U.S. aid is vital to what we do to support refugees around the world and to find solutions to their situations,” United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi said standing next to Tillerson Sunday.
The fight against terrorism
Trump’s White House has delegated authorities to U.S. military commanders in the field and given the Pentagon broader powers to make decisions, which he says has bolstered the campaign against ISIS.
They say together they will look for ways to support the governments in Iraq and Afghanistan, stop the flow of foreign fighters and their exportation of terror back to their home countries, and resolve the bloody conflict in Syria that has allowed terrorist groups to thrive in the heart of the Middle East.
The last two points are crucial for European allies, too, as the United Kingdom copes with its sixth terrorist attack this year alone.
Meetings with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, a strong Trump ally, will be a focal point for the White House. The two leaders will meet Monday, and Iran is expected to be a top priority as Israel grows increasingly concerned and active about Iranian influence in neighboring Syria.
The signatories of the deal, known formally as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA, will meet this week to discuss the deal -- the highest-level meeting yet between the Trump administration and Iran.