The 72nd United Nations General Assembly began on 12 September but proceedings ramp up as world leaders convene in New York this week.
Documents released by the UN indicate that education, trade and inequality are priorities for discussion. That agenda may get sidelined as politicians take the opportunity to meet while facing a range of volatile diplomatic issues such as Myanmar and North Korea.
The war of words between Pyongyang and Washington DC rumbles on amid continuing tensions and the prospect that the spat could upgrade into something less hyperbolic.
On September 3, North Korea claimed to have detonated a Hydrogen Bomb, the most dangerous weapon it has yet developed. It followed this by firing a missile over Japan on September 10 and the UN agreed to ratchet up sanctions against Kim Jong-Un’s regime the following day.
The U.S. ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, told CNN on September 17 that the UN had “exhausted” its options regarding North Korea’s threatening behaviour, though she added that “none of us want war”.
The subject is likely to dominate discussions as President Donald J. Trump participates in a UN General Assembly for the first time. In a tweet on Sunday Trump said that he was in discussions with South Korean president Moon Jae-in and referred to Kim Jong-Un as “rocket man”.
Myanmar’s “ethnic cleansing” of Rohingya
Nobel laureate and de facto President of Myanmar Aung San Suu Kyi last week withdrew from attending the General Assembly. She has been facing withering criticism for failing to act on or speak out against Myanmar’s military campaign against the majority-Muslim Rohingya.