Trump slams Iran but has kind words for North Korea at UN General Assembly

2018-09-25 19:53
US President Donald Trump. (Evan Vucci, AP, File)

US President Donald Trump. (Evan Vucci, AP, File)

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2018-09-25 15:06

President Cyril Ramaphosa said his US counterpart Donald Trump's comments on land expropriation in South Africa were 'ill-informed'. Watch.WATCH

At the 73rd general assembly of the in New York on Tuesday, US President Donald Trump climbed into Iran but predictably had some flattering words for North Korea.

On a rainy autumn day, Trump said Iran's neighbours paid a heavy price for the country's "aggressive expansion plans". This is why the US withdrew from its nuclear deal with Iran. More than 120 heads of state and government listened to the US president in complete silence, in a packed assembly hall.

"We cannot allow Iran to have the world's most powerful weapons and pose a threat to America and Israel. We ask all nations to isolate Iran," said Trump. 

The US president said America has decided to put economic pressure on Iran not to carry out its "bloody campaign".

Among other measures, the US is in talks with countries which import oil from Iran not to do so any more. 

Iran has upped its defence budget by 40% over the last few years, according to Trump.

He accused President Hassan Rouhani and his government of plundering the region's resources for their own enrichment. This is why Iranians are unhappy about what is going on. 

Trump thanked North Korean President Kim Jong-un for the steps he is taking towards peace in the Korean peninsula, but warned that much work lies ahead. 

 READ: After North Korea, Trump targets Iran with 'maximum pressure'

"The rockets and missiles aren't flying in all directions any more."  About the US trade war with China, Trump said he and Chinese President Xi Jinping are good friends, but America cannot tolerate Chinese injustice any more.

"In the last few years, we have allowed foreign goods to move freely over our borders, while we didn't get fair access in other countries.

"While America and many other countries obey trade rules, there are countries that abuse the system to dump their goods with us.

"Those days are over. We won't tolerate this abuse any more. America will never apologise for protecting its citizens."

The US president placed great emphasis on America's sovereignty. "I recognise the sovereignty of all countries. We just ask that you acknowledge ours."

Trump said the US rejects the interference of other countries into its sovereignty.

"We must protect sovereignty, independence and democracy at all times.

"If we do that, we will find new channels for cooperation. We will get new passion for peacekeeping and we will find new goals for the world we live in."

The US president however also used the opportunity to lash out at the UN, and said the world body's human rights council has become a huge embarrassment.

"Our ambassador at the UN (Nikki Haley) presented a clear plan for reform, but in spite of many warnings, no action has been taken.

"This is the reason why we have withdrawn from this council until proper reforms have been put into place," Trump said.

Concerning the International Criminal Court, he said that as far as America is concerned, the institution has no jurisdiction any more.

READ: Trump says International Criminal Court has 'no legitimacy'

The US also won't participate in any UN conference about immigration.

He conceded that the world is a better place thanks to the UN, which has a "beautiful constellation of nations, each very unique".

* Netwerk24 political journalist Sarel van der Walt is in New York to cover President Cyril Ramaphosa's visit to the US for Media24 publications at the invitation of the Presidency and the department of international relations.

Read more on:    un  |  donald trump  |  new york  |  ganeral assembly

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