Military, humanitarian crises front and center on UNGA’s agenda

UN General Assembly

The topics front and center on the UN General Assembly’s agenda

The 2017 UN General Assembly has a packed agenda. U.S. President Trump will make his debut appearance, and military and humanitarian crises from across the world will be front and center in debate.

CGTN’s Nathan King has a preview.

Eyes from across the world will be on U.S. President Donald Trump when makes his first address to the U.N. General Assembly. The leader has often been critical of the United Nations, and observers will be keen to hear if he continues this approach or takes a new stance.

“Nobody really knows what Trump is going to do,” according to Richard Gowan of the Center on International Co-operation. “He could give a very aggressive, anti-UN speech. Equally, he could try and use this as an opportunity to build better relations with other leaders and be relatively positive.”

In recent months the UN Security Council has shown rare unity. The body has passed multiple resolutions imposing sanctions on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, punishing the country for its accelerated missile and nuclear testing.

This week, the U.S. will try and push for more action against Pyongyang, while experts believe other nations will press Trump to accept that the only solution is diplomatic, not military.

“This is more of an opportunity for a wide range of leaders, and specially leaders of US allies, to ram home the theme that we need a diplomatic solution to the Korean problem,” Gowan said. “And if President Trump gives even a hint that he is minded to go to war, that will really shake up a lot of his audience.”

Chinese President Xi Jinping will not be in attendance this year, and so China’s delegation will be led by Foreign Minister Wang Yi. The diplomat will continue to push for Beijing’s plan to calm Korean tensions.

Also known as “the dual freeze,” the proposal aims to secure a freeze on Pyongyang’s missile and nuclear tests in return for a reduction in U.S. war games on the peninsula.

This year’s General Assembly will also be the first for new UN Secretary General Antonio Gutteres. He is leading an organization dealing with multiple security and humanitarian crises. Those range from civil wars in Syria and Yemen to record numbers of refugees fleeing Africa, the Middle East and even Asia, as the Rohingya crisis rages in Myanmar.

Myanmar’s State Councilor and Foreign Minister Aung San Suu Kyi is no longer coming to this United Nations General Assembly. Other world leaders, including Russia’s Vladimir Putin and Germany’s Angela Merkel, will also not be in New York this week.

Iran’s newly re-elected President Hassan Rouhani will be, however. He will highlight Iran’s continued compliance with the historic nuclear deal, which hardliners in the Trump administration oppose.