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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 October 2018

Donald Trump turns to Twitter diplomacy as he heads for UN gathering

UN General Assembly 2018: Trump and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe discussed North Korea during bilateral meeting 

JPMorgan strategists say US President Donald Trump's  overconfidence in the US economy may lead to major miscalculations. AP
JPMorgan strategists say US President Donald Trump's  overconfidence in the US economy may lead to major miscalculations. AP

Leaving his New Jersey golf club, US President Donald Trump announced his departure for the United Nations General Assembly in New York on Twitter, calling for a better relationship with Japan.

Mr Trump met with Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Sunday evening at a bilateral working dinner.

Following dinner with Mr Trump at the president's New York tower, Mr Abe told reporters the pair discussed North Korea and its abduction of Japanese citizens, along with US-Japan and international trade, "in a warm atmosphere as usual."

"On the North Korean issue, we agreed to further boost the momentum created at the historic US-North Korea summit in June and cooperate closely and firmly in realising the denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula," Mr Abe said.

North Korea and Iran are set to dominate the UN General Assembly, where President Trump will be in the spotlight as he continues to upend global diplomacy.

The US trade war with China and the regional threat of North Korea are likely to be the biggest talking points for the two nations.

The US and Canada are "very likely" to hold informal Nafta talks on the sidelines of the general assembly over the next few days.

Mexico and the US struck a deal on trade last month, and Mr Trump threatened to exclude Canada if necessary.

On Tuesday, Mr Trump will deliver his second speech to the UN where he is expected to focus on "foreign policy successes the United States has had over the past year,” the US ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley said.

Mr Trump is expected to focus on the Middle East during his time at the General Assembly, particularly on Iran. He will chair a UN Security Council meeting on non-proliferation of nuclear weapons, a thinly veiled manipulation of UN protocol, allowing him to discuss Iran without being forced to invite their representative for a right to reply.

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At least six bilateral meetings are scheduled for the sidelines of the General Assembly, including those with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and British premier Theresa May.

On Saturday Mr Trump released a video on Twitter expressing his belief in the UN, but says it has not lived up to its "tremendous potential."

"It's always been surprising to me, that more things aren't resolved," the president said, "because you have all of these countries getting together in one location, but it doesn't seem to get there. I think it will."