Published: Thu, September 21, 2017
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

Nikki Haley to North Korea: 'No problem' letting Mattis deal with you

Nikki Haley to North Korea: 'No problem' letting Mattis deal with you

The US leader will host a lunch with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and South Korea's Moon Jae-in on Thursday on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, Trump's National Security Adviser HR McMaster told a White House briefing.

"As North Korea continues its illegal nuclear weapons program, commits blatant violations of global law, and makes threats to our country and allies, the confirmation of a USA ambassador to the Republic of Korea must be prioritized", the letter said.

Haley's warning comes in stark contrast made by former USA state department officials who say there's still room to engage North Korea diplomatically.

"We're out of time", McMaster said.

"I think foreign leaders expect Trump to have some harsh words for the United Nations", said Richard Gowan, a United Nations expert with the European Council on Foreign Relations.

As he did with NATO, Trump has pressed the United Nations for reforms, and Haley emphasized that the administration has seen improvements.

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To be fair, what can be described as a general reluctance to preview Trump's visit is understandable to a certain degree since the president is widely seen as unpredictable - particularly when it comes to last minute changes to the content of the speeches he gives. She said the world body has moved away from "focusing on the commas and the periods" of toothless resolutions and begun taking stronger actions.

Haley's remarks came as US President Donald Trump was set to deliver his first speech to the United Nations General Assembly next week. Though they aren't their top choices for the region, Haley and McMaster said, they are available to the President.

Vice President Mike Pence and U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will join Trump in the U.S. delegation. The administration of Donald Trump has threatened North Korea of "destruction" this Sunday if she continued to provoke Washington and its allies. This may seem a low bar to set, but against the backdrop of Trump's anti-UN rhetoric and his espoused policy of "America First," his visit to the world's most visible multilateral organization could indeed be interpreted as an albeit small, but important step.

Speaking to reporters in Washington on Friday, Haley suggested she wasn't concerned about Trump creating a mess for her to clean up after things settle back down at the U.N. and her bosses head back to the nation's capital. Instead, pledged the United States would be "partners in your work" to make the organization a more effective force for world peace.

"We have had many ambassadors to the United Nations with a prominent public presence, so Haley is hardly unique in that regard", Peter Feaver, a national security official in the George W. Bush administration, wrote in an email to McClatchy.

Hours earlier, Pyongyang had fired a missile over Japan and into the Pacific Ocean - its longest missile flight yet - in response to fresh punitive measures imposed by the UN Security Council.

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