Donald Trump to call for more pressure on N Korea in first UN speech

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Donald TrumpImage source, AFP
Image caption,
Mr Trump attended the UN on Monday but will address the General Assembly for the first time on Tuesday

US President Donald Trump is expected to call for more international pressure on North Korea over its nuclear weapons programme when he addresses the United Nations General Assembly later.

It will be his first speech to the world body and will take place at 10:30 New York time (14:30 GMT).

White House officials said he would refer to Islamist militants as "losers" and criticise Iran and Venezuela.

Mr Trump has previously hinted that the US might cut its UN funding.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has told the BBC that if the US withdraws from international affairs the void left will be filled by others.

Officials said Mr Trump would tell UN member states to act against North Korea's "destabilising, hostile and dangerous behaviour".

Media caption,

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres warns against US retreat from world affairs

North Korea's said on Monday that more sanctions and pressure would only make it accelerate its nuclear programme.

The country has carried out repeated missile tests this year despite international condemnation, and conducted its sixth nuclear test earlier this month.

Mr Trump will also express concern about Iran in his speech. Last week he said the country had "violated the spirit of" a 2015 deal aimed to stop it developing a nuclear weapon. The US president has been a frequent critic of the agreement.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said in London last week that Iran was not contributing positively to regional security "through their actions to prop up the Assad regime [in Syria]", by engaging in "malicious activities in the region" and by "aggressively developing ballistic missiles".

A White House official briefing reporters on Mr Trump's speech said that Iran and North Korea presented a "shared menace" to the world.

"Nations cannot be bystanders to history and if we don't confront the threats now, they will only gather force and become more formidable," the official was quoted by Reuters news agency as saying.

Mr Trump was at the UN on Monday and held meetings with some world leaders, in addition to attending a special meeting on UN reform.

He told the leaders of some Latin American countries that the situation in Venezuela was "totally unacceptable", calling it a socialist dictatorship.

He said the US was "prepared to take further action if the government of Venezuela persists".