Remarks by President Trump to the 73rd Session of the United Nations General Assembly | New York, NY
Issued on: September 25, 2018, United Nations Headquarters,
New York, 10:38 A.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: Madam President, Mr. Secretary-General, world leaders, ambassadors, and distinguished delegates:
One year ago, I stood before you for the first time in this grand hall. I addressed the threats facing our world, and I presented a vision to achieve a brighter future for all of humanity.
Today, I stand before the United Nations General Assembly to share the extraordinary progress we’ve made.
In less than two years, my administration has accomplished more than almost any administration in the history of our country.
America’s — so true. (Laughter.) Didn’t expect that reaction, but that’s okay. (Laughter and applause.)
America’s economy is booming like never before. Since my election, we’ve added $10 trillion in wealth. The stock market is at an all-time high in history, and jobless claims are at a 50-year low. African American, Hispanic American, and Asian American unemployment have all achieved their lowest levels ever recorded. We’ve added more than 4 million new jobs, including half a million manufacturing jobs.
We have passed the biggest tax cuts and reforms in American history. We’ve started the construction of a major border wall, and we have greatly strengthened border security.
We have secured record funding for our military — $700 billion this year, and $716 billion next year. Our military will soon be more powerful than it has ever been before.
In other words, the United States is stronger, safer, and a richer country than it was when I assumed office less than two years ago.
We are standing up for America and for the American people. And we are also standing up for the world.
This is great news for our citizens and for peace-loving people everywhere. We believe that when nations respect the rights of their neighbors, and defend the interests of their people, they can better work together to secure the blessings of safety, prosperity, and peace.
Each of us here today is the emissary of a distinct culture, a rich history, and a people bound together by ties of memory, tradition, and the values that make our homelands like nowhere else on Earth.
That is why America will always choose independence and cooperation over global governance, control, and domination.
I honor the right of every nation in this room to pursue its own customs, beliefs, and traditions. The United States will not tell you how to live or work or worship.
We only ask that you honor our sovereignty in return.
From Warsaw to Brussels, to Tokyo to Singapore, it has been my highest honor to represent the United States abroad. I have forged close relationships and friendships and strong partnerships with the leaders of many nations in this room, and our approach has already yielded incredible change.
With support from many countries here today, we have engaged with North Korea to replace the specter of conflict with a bold and new push for peace.
In June, I traveled to Singapore to meet face to face with North Korea’s leader, Chairman Kim Jong Un.
We had highly productive conversations and meetings, and we agreed that it was in both countries’ interest to pursue the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. Since that meeting, we have already seen a number of encouraging measures that few could have imagined only a short time ago.
The missiles and rockets are no longer flying in every direction. Nuclear testing has stopped. Some military facilities are already being dismantled. Our hostages have been released. And as promised, the remains of our fallen heroes are being returned home to lay at rest in American soil.
I would like to thank Chairman Kim for his courage and for the steps he has taken, though much work remains to be done. The sanctions will stay in place until denuclearization occurs.
I also want to thank the many member states who helped us reach this moment — a moment that is actually far greater than people would understand; far greater — but for also their support and the critical support that we will all need going forward.
A special thanks to President Moon of South Korea, Prime Minister Abe of Japan, and President Xi of China.
In the Middle East, our new approach is also yielding great strides and very historic change.
Following my trip to Saudi Arabia last year, the Gulf countries opened a new center to target terrorist financing. They are enforcing new sanctions, working with us to identify and track terrorist networks, and taking more responsibility for fighting terrorism and extremism in their own region.
The UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar have pledged billions of dollars to aid the people of Syria and Yemen. And they are pursuing multiple avenues to ending Yemen’s horrible, horrific civil war.
Ultimately, it is up to the nations of the region to decide what kind of future they want for themselves and their children.
For that reason, the United States is working with the Gulf Cooperation Council, Jordan, and Egypt to establish a regional strategic alliance so that Middle Eastern nations can advance prosperity, stability, and security across their home region.
Thanks to the United States military and our partnership with many of your nations, I am pleased to report that the bloodthirsty killers known as ISIS have been driven out from the territory they once held in Iraq and Syria. We will continue to work with friends and allies to deny radical Islamic terrorists any funding, territory or support, or any means of infiltrating our borders.
The ongoing tragedy in Syria is heartbreaking. Our shared goals must be the de-escalation of military conflict, along with a political solution that honors the will of the Syrian people. In this vein, we urge the United Nations-led peace process be reinvigorated. But, rest assured, the United States will respond if chemical weapons are deployed by the Assad regime.
I commend the people of Jordan and other neighboring countries for hosting refugees from this very brutal civil war.
As we see in Jordan, the most compassionate policy is to place refugees as close to their homes as possible to ease their eventual return to be part of the rebuilding process. This approach also stretches finite resources to help far more people, increasing the impact of every dollar spent.
Every solution to the humanitarian crisis in Syria must also include a strategy to address the brutal regime that has fueled and financed it: the corrupt dictatorship in Iran.
Iran’s leaders sow chaos, death, and destruction. They do not respect their neighbors or borders, or the sovereign rights of nations. Instead, Iran’s leaders plunder the nation’s resources to enrich themselves and to spread mayhem across the Middle East and far beyond.
The Iranian people are rightly outraged that their leaders have embezzled billions of dollars from Iran’s treasury, seized valuable portions of the economy, and looted the people’s religious endowments, all to line their own pockets and send their proxies to wage war. Not good.
Iran’s neighbors have paid a heavy toll for the region’s [regime’s] agenda of aggression and expansion. That is why so many countries in the Middle East strongly supported my decision to withdraw the United States from the horrible 2015 Iran Nuclear Deal and re-impose nuclear sanctions.
The Iran deal was a windfall for Iran’s leaders. In the years since the deal was reached, Iran’s military budget grew nearly 40 percent. The dictatorship used the funds to build nuclear-capable missiles, increase internal repression, finance terrorism, and fund havoc and slaughter in Syria and Yemen.
The United States has launched a campaign of economic pressure to deny the regime the funds it needs to advance its bloody agenda. Last month, we began re-imposing hard-hitting nuclear sanctions that had been lifted under the Iran deal. Additional sanctions will resume November 5th, and more will follow. And we’re working with countries that import Iranian crude oil to cut their purchases substantially.
We cannot allow the world’s leading sponsor of terrorism to possess the planet’s most dangerous weapons. We cannot allow a regime that chants “Death to America,” and that threatens Israel with annihilation, to possess the means to deliver a nuclear warhead to any city on Earth. Just can’t do it.
We ask all nations to isolate Iran’s regime as long as its aggression continues. And we ask all nations to support Iran’s people as they struggle to reclaim their religious and righteous destiny.
This year, we also took another significant step forward in the Middle East. In recognition of every sovereign state to determine its own capital, I moved the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.
The United States is committed to a future of peace and stability in the region, including peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians. That aim is advanced, not harmed, by acknowledging the obvious facts.
America’s policy of principled realism means we will not be held hostage to old dogmas, discredited ideologies, and so-called experts who have been proven wrong over the years, time and time again. This is true not only in matters of peace, but in matters of prosperity.
We believe that trade must be fair and reciprocal. The United States will not be taken advantage of any longer.
For decades, the United States opened its economy — the largest, by far, on Earth — with few conditions. We allowed foreign goods from all over the world to flow freely across our borders.
Yet, other countries did not grant us fair and reciprocal access to their markets in return. Even worse, some countries abused their openness to dump their products, subsidize their goods, target our industries, and manipulate their currencies to gain unfair advantage over our country. As a result, our trade deficit ballooned to nearly $800 billion a year.
For this reason, we are systematically renegotiating broken and bad trade deals.
Last month, we announced a groundbreaking U.S.-Mexico trade agreement. And just yesterday, I stood with President Moon to announce the successful completion of the brand new U.S.-Korea trade deal. And this is just the beginning.
Many nations in this hall will agree that the world trading system is in dire need of change. For example, countries were admitted to the World Trade Organization that violate every single principle on which the organization is based. While the United States and many other nations play by the rules, these countries use government-run industrial planning and state-owned enterprises to rig the system in their favor. They engage in relentless product dumping, forced technology transfer, and the theft of intellectual property.
The United States lost over 3 million manufacturing jobs, nearly a quarter of all steel jobs, and 60,000 factories after China joined the WTO. And we have racked up $13 trillion in trade deficits over the last two decades.
But those days are over. We will no longer tolerate such abuse. We will not allow our workers to be victimized, our companies to be cheated, and our wealth to be plundered and transferred. America will never apologize for protecting its citizens.
The United States has just announced tariffs on another $200 billion in Chinese-made goods for a total, so far, of $250 billion. I have great respect and affection for my friend, President Xi, but I have made clear our trade imbalance is just not acceptable. China’s market distortions and the way they deal cannot be tolerated.
As my administration has demonstrated, America will always act in our national interest.
I spoke before this body last year and warned that the U.N. Human Rights Council had become a grave embarrassment to this institution, shielding egregious human rights abusers while bashing America and its many friends.
Our Ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, laid out a clear agenda for reform, but despite reported and repeated warnings, no action at all was taken.
So the United States took the only responsible course: We withdrew from the Human Rights Council, and we will not return until real reform is enacted.
For similar reasons, the United States will provide no support in recognition to the International Criminal Court. As far as America is concerned, the ICC has no jurisdiction, no legitimacy, and no authority. The ICC claims near-universal jurisdiction over the citizens of every country, violating all principles of justice, fairness, and due process. We will never surrender America’s sovereignty to an unelected, unaccountable, global bureaucracy.
America is governed by Americans. We reject the ideology of globalism, and we embrace the doctrine of patriotism.
Around the world, responsible nations must defend against threats to sovereignty not just from global governance, but also from other, new forms of coercion and domination.
In America, we believe strongly in energy security for ourselves and for our allies. We have become the largest energy producer anywhere on the face of the Earth.
The United States stands ready to export our abundant, affordable supply of oil, clean coal, and natural gas.
OPEC and OPEC nations, are, as usual, ripping off the rest of the world, and I don’t like it. Nobody should like it. We defend many of these nations for nothing, and then they take advantage of us by giving us high oil prices. Not good.
We want them to stop raising prices, we want them to start lowering prices, and they must contribute substantially to military protection from now on. We are not going to put up with it — these horrible prices — much longer.
Reliance on a single foreign supplier can leave a nation vulnerable to extortion and intimidation. That is why we congratulate European states, such as Poland, for leading the construction of a Baltic pipeline so that nations are not dependent on Russia to meet their energy needs. Germany will become totally dependent on Russian energy if it does not immediately change course.
Here in the Western Hemisphere, we are committed to maintaining our independence from the encroachment of expansionist foreign powers.
It has been the formal policy of our country since President Monroe that we reject the interference of foreign nations in this hemisphere and in our own affairs. The United States has recently strengthened our laws to better screen foreign investments in our country for national security threats, and we welcome cooperation with countries in this region and around the world that wish to do the same. You need to do it for your own protection.
The United States is also working with partners in Latin America to confront threats to sovereignty from uncontrolled migration. Tolerance for human struggling and human smuggling and trafficking is not humane. It’s a horrible thing that’s going on, at levels that nobody has ever seen before. It’s very, very cruel.
Illegal immigration funds criminal networks, ruthless gangs, and the flow of deadly drugs. Illegal immigration exploits vulnerable populations, hurts hardworking citizens, and has produced a vicious cycle of crime, violence, and poverty. Only by upholding national borders, destroying criminal gangs, can we break this cycle and establish a real foundation for prosperity.
We recognize the right of every nation in this room to set its own immigration policy in accordance with its national interests, just as we ask other countries to respect our own right to do the same — which we are doing. That is one reason the United States will not participate in the new Global Compact on Migration. Migration should not be governed by an international body unaccountable to our own citizens.
Ultimately, the only long-term solution to the migration crisis is to help people build more hopeful futures in their home countries. Make their countries great again.
Currently, we are witnessing a human tragedy, as an example, in Venezuela. More than 2 million people have fled the anguish inflicted by the socialist Maduro regime and its Cuban sponsors.
Not long ago, Venezuela was one of the richest countries on Earth. Today, socialism has bankrupted the oil-rich nation and driven its people into abject poverty.
Virtually everywhere socialism or communism has been tried, it has produced suffering, corruption, and decay. Socialism’s thirst for power leads to expansion, incursion, and oppression. All nations of the world should resist socialism and the misery that it brings to everyone.
In that spirit, we ask the nations gathered here to join us in calling for the restoration of democracy in Venezuela. Today, we are announcing additional sanctions against the repressive regime, targeting Maduro’s inner circle and close advisors.
We are grateful for all the work the United Nations does around the world to help people build better lives for themselves and their families.
The United States is the world’s largest giver in the world, by far, of foreign aid. But few give anything to us. That is why we are taking a hard look at U.S. foreign assistance. That will be headed up by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. We will examine what is working, what is not working, and whether the countries who receive our dollars and our protection also have our interests at heart.
Moving forward, we are only going to give foreign aid to those who respect us and, frankly, are our friends. And we expect other countries to pay their fair share for the cost of their defense.
The United States is committed to making the United Nations more effective and accountable. I have said many times that the United Nations has unlimited potential. As part of our reform effort, I have told our negotiators that the United States will not pay more than 25 percent of the U.N. peacekeeping budget. This will encourage other countries to step up, get involved, and also share in this very large burden.
And we are working to shift more of our funding from assessed contributions to voluntary so that we can target American resources to the programs with the best record of success.
Only when each of us does our part and contributes our share can we realize the U.N.’s highest aspirations. We must pursue peace without fear, hope without despair, and security without apology.
Looking around this hall where so much history has transpired, we think of the many before us who have come here to address the challenges of their nations and of their times. And our thoughts turn to the same question that ran through all their speeches and resolutions, through every word and every hope. It is the question of what kind of world will we leave for our children and what kind of nations they will inherit.
The dreams that fill this hall today are as diverse as the people who have stood at this podium, and as varied as the countries represented right here in this body are. It really is something. It really is great, great history.
There is India, a free society over a billion people, successfully lifting countless millions out of poverty and into the middle class.
There is Saudi Arabia, where King Salman and the Crown Prince are pursuing bold new reforms.
There is Israel, proudly celebrating its 70th anniversary as a thriving democracy in the Holy Land.
In Poland, a great people are standing up for their independence, their security, and their sovereignty.
Many countries are pursuing their own unique visions, building their own hopeful futures, and chasing their own wonderful dreams of destiny, of legacy, and of a home.
The whole world is richer, humanity is better, because of this beautiful constellation of nations, each very special, each very unique, and each shining brightly in its part of the world.
In each one, we see awesome promise of a people bound together by a shared past and working toward a common future.
As for Americans, we know what kind of future we want for ourselves. We know what kind of a nation America must always be.
In America, we believe in the majesty of freedom and the dignity of the individual. We believe in self-government and the rule of law. And we prize the culture that sustains our liberty -– a culture built on strong families, deep faith, and fierce independence. We celebrate our heroes, we treasure our traditions, and above all, we love our country.
Inside everyone in this great chamber today, and everyone listening all around the globe, there is the heart of a patriot that feels the same powerful love for your nation, the same intense loyalty to your homeland.
The passion that burns in the hearts of patriots and the souls of nations has inspired reform and revolution, sacrifice and selflessness, scientific breakthroughs, and magnificent works of art.
Our task is not to erase it, but to embrace it. To build with it. To draw on its ancient wisdom. And to find within it the will to make our nations greater, our regions safer, and the world better.
To unleash this incredible potential in our people, we must defend the foundations that make it all possible. Sovereign and independent nations are the only vehicle where freedom has ever survived, democracy has ever endured, or peace has ever prospered. And so we must protect our sovereignty and our cherished independence above all.
When we do, we will find new avenues for cooperation unfolding before us. We will find new passion for peacemaking rising within us. We will find new purpose, new resolve, and new spirit flourishing all around us, and making this a more beautiful world in which to live.
So together, let us choose a future of patriotism, prosperity, and pride. Let us choose peace and freedom over domination and defeat. And let us come here to this place to stand for our people and their nations, forever strong, forever sovereign, forever just, and forever thankful for the grace and the goodness and the glory of God.
Thank you. God bless you. And God bless the nations of the world.
Thank you very much. Thank you. (Applause.)
END 11:13 A.M. EDT
Press Briefing on the President’s Agenda at the U.N. General Assembly | New York, NY
Issued on: September 24, 2018
New York Hilton Midtown, New York, New York 11:09 A.M. EDT
SECRETARY POMPEO: Good morning, everyone. It’s an honor to be here in New York for the 73rd United Nations General Assembly, my first as Secretary of State. Kind of the Super Bowl of diplomacy. Americans can be proud of how our entire team is executing on the field today. I’m thrilled to be here with my friends Nikki and John, as well.
Americans expect the United States to assert bold leadership on the world stage that reflects our values. And under President Trump, we are certainly leading from the front.
This was clear from just the first meeting this morning, in which we issued a call for Global Action for the World Drug Problem, the scourge of drug trafficking, narcotics production, and substance abuse is intensifying on a global scale. Within the United States, President Trump is leading a massive and effective counterattack against it. It’s now time for every country to follow our lead.
Later today, the President will hold bilateral meetings with President Moon of South Korea, President Al-Sisi of Egypt, and President Macron of France. Whether it’s security issues, economic issues, human rights, or anything else, the President is asking for countries to exert their sovereignty to solve challenges and listening to what America can do to help.
This emphasis on sovereignty was, of course, the theme of President Trump’s speech to the General Assembly last year. That theme will endure in his speech tomorrow, along with a recap about how his call for every nation to do its part has paid dividends for the United States and the world over this past year.
For example, President Trump’s leadership, combined with efforts of countries to enforce the pressure campaign, has deescalated tensions with North Korea and brought us closer to our final goal: the final, fully verified denuclearization of the DRPK, as agreed to by Chairman Kim Jong Un.
Last week’s summit between President Moon and Chairman Kim yielded another positive step forward, but the President remains resolute: Now is the not the time to ease pressure.
And as you’ve heard too, President Trump will address the threat of nonproliferation at the Security Council, on Wednesday, and the need for responsible nations to stop the spread of weapons and technologies.
Among the topics that meeting will cover are North Korea, Syria, and Iran. You can bet the President will have well-deserved strong words for the Iranian regime, which is among the worst of violators of U.N. Security Council resolutions, if not the absolute worst in the world. He’ll call on every country to join our pressure campaign in order to thwart Iran’s global torrent of destructive activity.
Whether it’s Venezuela, South Sudan, Syria, Burma, China, the estimated 2.5 million victim — excuse me, 25 million victims of modern slavery around the world can also count on America’s support. Today is shaping up as a great first day. Lots more work to come this week.
President Trump and our entire diplomatic corps look forward to the days with our foreign counterparts as we work on achieving shared victories for all.
AMBASSADOR HALEY: Good morning. Happy UNGA. We got a great start today with the President’s event on counter-narcotics.
Really, to understand this event is to understand the fact that it wasn’t just a bunch of people getting into a room. Every country that attended had to sign a Global Call to Action, which basically said that they were going to implement something within their own countries that dealt with how they were going to deal with the supply and demand of drugs, the international cooperation they were going to do with other countries to stop illicit drugs, and then also treatment that can be done within their own countries.
And so the idea that the President was able to get 130 countries to sign on means that we are now having a global drug conversation that needed to be had for a long time.
As we go through UNGA, you are seeing over 140 heads of delegations that are here at the United Nations. We certainly are looking forward to the President’s speech tomorrow. As you can tell, last year we started UNGA and it was trying to figure what the U.S. presence was going to be. This year, we’re here with a bang. Not only is the President doing his speech, he’s going to be doing a Security Council meeting. Secretary Pompeo is also doing a Security Council meeting. The Vice President is doing an event on Venezuela. And so it’s all hands on deck by the United States.
He will be meeting with the Secretary-General. It’s been an interesting time knowing that, since the Secretary-General’s meeting last year, we have pulled out of the Paris Accord. We have pulled out of the Global Compact. We have pulled out of the Iran deal. And all of that is to say that the United States is determined to obviously be involved in multilateral organizations where we see it, but not in the way that they’re mandated on what the United States does or that infringes on the American people.
So with that, he will be hosting the reception, obviously tonight, with the heads of delegations. And then tomorrow night, he and the Vice President and the Secretary have agreed to host our Security Council members, as well as their foreign ministers.
And you know, with everything we’ve been able to get accomplished, whether it’s the arms embargo with South Sudan, whether it’s the idea that we were able to get three sanctions packages passed in North Korea, that we’ve got massive reform efforts that were done this past year and peacekeeping mandates completely rolled over. We would not be able to do that without the Security Council, and so that meeting is going to be very important.
But we look forward to a great week. Everyone is excited. The United States is always very happy to host this. New Yorkers may not be, but we’re going to make it a great UNGA. Thank you very much.
AMBASSADOR BOLTON: Well, thanks. I’m just delighted to be here. Everybody have a copy? I’ve got mine. It’s a little worn, but I still got it.
I just wanted to take a second and talk about one of the themes in the President’s remarks tomorrow. And I have been around long enough to know that I’m not going to step on any of his lines, but he is going to talk and elaborate on his views on sovereignty.
And I just wanted to explain that this is — why this is so important for Americans, because many people consider sovereignty a kind of abstract concept. It derives, obviously, from the word “sovereign,” meaning the monarch. But it’s one of the reasons I think America is exceptional, and that is we understand sovereignty not to be vested in the head of state; we understand it as the Framers said in the Constitution itself: “We the People.” We the people are sovereign in America. So that infringements on our sovereignty are not infringements on abstractions or infringements on the government, they’re an infringement on the people themselves.
We express our sovereignty through the Constitution, through our political process. It’s why that’s so important. And it’s why we believe — and of course, I’m speaking in secular terms here — that the Constitution is the highest authority that we recognize.
So in a number of different ways, the President is going to address this issue. And again, it’s the continuing theme of his — as Secretary Pompeo said, it was a theme in his last address to the General Assembly, it will be this year, and in a variety of other contexts that you’ll see.
MS. WALTERS: With that, we’ll open it up to questions. Steve Holland.
Q Mr. Secretary, will you raise with the Russians what you’re calling an “escalation” of sending these S-300 missiles to Syria?
SECRETARY POMPEO: So there are many topics that we’ll talk about with the Russians. I am very confident that their latest decision to move the S-300 will be amongst them.
Ambassador Bolton has had the most recent conversation when he met with his counterpart now three weeks ago perhaps, four weeks ago.
As I said yesterday, we’re trying to find every place we can where there is common ground, where we can work with the Russians. We’re finding lots of places where they’re working against American interest, and we will hold them accountable for so doing.
Q And will you meet with Lavrov while you’re here?
SECRETARY POMPEO: Yes. I’m sure Sergey and I will have our time together.
MS. WALTERS: Matt Lee from the AP.
Q I really don’t have anything to ask. I’m in the middle of writing something here. (Laughter.) But I will, I guess.
Ambassador Bolton, when you talk about sovereignty and your threat to prosecute the International Criminal Court, do you expect the President will repeat that threat? And exactly what is the legal basis for saying that you will prosecute ICC prosecutors or judges?
AMBASSADOR BOLTON: Well, as I said a moment ago, I’m not going to say anything specific about what he’s going to comment on. And the authorities that I referred to in my speech to the Federalist Society are largely drawn from the American Service-Members’ Protection Act of 2002.
MS. WALTERS: John Roberts, Fox News.
Q Two questions. The first one is not exactly in your purview. But as you spent the morning with the President, do you have any idea what’s currently going on with the Deputy Attorney General?
SECRETARY POMPEO: We don’t have any comment. You’ll have to talk to the White House about that.
Q Okay, then let me ask my second question. North Korea. You’re having a lot of talks with North Korea. You’re not seeing what you need to in terms of denuclearization. How long do you leave the door open before you decide this isn’t working?
SECRETARY POMPEO: Yeah, John, look, you have to remember this is a process that will move forward. To set a date certain would be foolish. But make no mistake about it — the conversations that we’re having are important. They’re putting the opportunity to complete the denuclearization in place. And we will continue at every level to have those conversations. Some of them you will all be aware of; some of them you won’t know are taking place.
There’s lots going on so that we can get to the place where — in this place, this week. Right? These are the U.N. Security Council resolutions that demanded that North Korea give up its nuclear weapons program and, even more broadly, its nuclear capabilities. Those aren’t United States demands; they are the United Nations demands. And we’re working to assist in implementing them and to help Chairman Kim get to the right place to honor the promise that he made to President Trump in Singapore.
Q Are you optimistic that he will come through on this?
Q SECRETARY POMPEO: Yes.
MS. WALTERS: Errol Barnett, CBS.
Q Secretary Pompeo, just to follow up on that point, President Trump said earlier today the second meeting will take place quite soon. So my specific question to you is: What does North Korea need to do before securing that meeting? Or has it already achieved that privilege?
SECRETARY POMPEO: I’m not going to get into the details about it, but the President said this morning they’ll meet quite soon. I’m confident that that will happen. I expect I’ll be traveling to Pyongyang before too long, as well, to make the final preparations for that second meeting between the two leaders.
Q Will that be before the end of the year? What is “soon”?
SECRETARY POMPEO: Yes. Lord willing, I’ll be traveling before the end of the year.
MS. WALTERS: Francesca Chambers.
Q Thank you, Lindsay. I’ll start with you, Secretary Pompeo. North Korea says that it’s looking for reciprocal actions from the United States in order to enter into a nuclear deal. What at this point would the United States be willing to give up to North Korea since you guys have said that sanctions are not on the table? And then, I have a second question on a second topic, but you might want to answer that first.
SECRETARY POMPEO: So I have said repeatedly and I shall remain steadfast: We’re not going to talk about the state of the negotiation — it would be inappropriate for us to do that — or our North Korean counterparts to talk about particular deal points, things we’re working on.
But the fundamental principles remain the same. We expect the full, complete, verified denuclearization of North Korea. And until such time as that occurs, the economic sanctions — the sanctions that have been put in place by the United Nations Security Council — will remain in place. That’s the core proposition that the President agreed to in Singapore, and it’s the one we’re going to continue to honor through the whole process.
Q Okay, and then the second topic. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is among the U.S. allies who is not getting a private sit-down with the President this week, it would seem. So what does that say about the relationship between the United States and Canada right now? And what does it say about the possibility of securing a trade deal with Canada?
AMBASSADOR BOLTON: The President’s schedule is very compressed this year in New York, and so there were a lot of requests and a lot of desires by the President to have bilaterals that simply couldn’t be accommodated. He speaks with Prime Minister Trudeau by phone all the time. And it’s always possible here in New York that they would have time for a pull-aside, as we call it. But there is full and open, complete communication between Prime Minister Trudeau and President Trump. That I can assure you.
MS. WALTERS: Emerald Robinson, One America News.
Q Thank you, Lindsay. This is for either Ambassador Haley or Secretary Pompeo. In an update on Pastor Brunson, there’s rumors that he could be released next month. Any comment on that? Is that true? And are there conversations going on this week in regards to him and Turkish sanctions?
SECRETARY POMPEO: Yes, he could be released this month. He should have been released last month, and he should be released today, in fact. We’ve talked to the Turks; they know the expectation. Pastor Brunson and the other U.S. persons that are being held by Turkey all need to be released by Turkey. And they need to be done — that needs to be done immediately.
And I’m sure there will be some conversations this week in furtherance of that. But no make no mistake, there will be nothing that we share with them here that we haven’t shared with them already about President Trump’s demands that these innocent people — these people who have truly done nothing wrong — not be detained wrongfully in Turkey.
MS. WALTERS: We can move to the back of the room.
Q Thank you. Thank you very much. Secretary Pompeo, my name is Majeed Gly. I’m from Rudaw Media Network. I have a question for you, Ambassador Bolton, or Secretary Pompeo, to answer questions about Iraq.
Ambassador Haley last week elaborated very well at the Security Council of how Iran is practically taking over Iraq and influencing what’s going on there. Iran now is appointing the Speaker of the Parliament. They’re planning to appoint the Prime Minister of Iraq. They’re taking over the country. What is the U.S. planning to do in order to counter Iranian influence? Do you have specific plans with that regard? Thank you.
SECRETARY POMPEO: Thank you. You’re speaking about the Iraqi government formation process? Yes, sorry, I wanted to make sure I had the question right.
This administration took over at time when Qassem Soleimani and the Ayatollah were running rampant through five capitals in the Middle East. And we have engaged in significant activity that has begun to counter the Iranian threat. Today they remain the world’s largest state sponsor of terror. It is our fervent effort to make sure that that not remain the case.
We’ve put a number of restrictions in place. We will re-impose another set of sanctions come this November. Our actions in and around the Middle East have made clear we will not continue to accept Iran’s bad behavior.
In Iraq, we have been working to achieve a government that is an Iraqi national government. And we’re hoping that the leaders — the people of Iraq have spoken. They had their chance to vote. And now they’re in the process of forming that government. And we are working diligently to make sure that the Iraqi people, the voice that they gave during their election, is who ends up in leadership there.
Q A follow-on. Kim Dozier from the Daily Beast. Rudy Giuliani over the weekend called for regime change in Iran. Does that follow with the Trump administration’s desires of policy?
AMBASSADOR BOLTON: As I’ve said repeatedly, regime change in Iran is not the administration’s policy. As Mike Pompeo just said, we’ve imposed very stringent sanctions on Iran. More are coming.
And what we expect from Iran is massive changes in their behavior. And until that happens, we will continue to exert what the President has called “maximum pressure.” That’s what we intend to do.
MS. WALTERS: Jim Acosta, CNN.
Q Yes, Ambassador Haley, you’re the lone person here that has been with the administration since the beginning. In the story about Rod Rosenstein on Friday, it was mentioned that he had been involved in circulating discussions about invoking the 25th Amendment to have the President removed from office. Were you ever involved in any of those discussions? Were you aware of any of those discussions? And I did have a North Korea follow-up for the Secretary.
AMBASSADOR HALEY: I mean, I said yesterday, on the Sunday shows, that, literally, I have never once been in the White House where that conversation has happened. I am not aware of any Cabinet members that are even talking about that. It is completely and totally absurd. No one is questioning the President at all. If anything, we’re trying to keep up the pace with him, in the fact that he’s got a lot he wants to accomplish very quickly, and we’re going to continue to support him in the way that he does that.
Q I appreciate that. And, Secretary Pompeo, if I may ask you a follow-up on North Korea. Before you went into the summit with Kim Jong Un in Singapore, you did not have an agreement really in place for complete denuclearization. Why should you have another summit with Kim Jong Un — a second summit the President talked about this morning — if you don’t have the details in place? It just seems, even to the layman, that you sort of have the process backwards; that you would want the details in place before having a summit. And here you may do it for a second time.
SECRETARY POMPEO: Two things. Fact check: I’ve been with the administration since the beginning too. Not that that’s relevant. (Laughter.) But I’ll add, no discussion with me about the 25th Amendment anywhere either.
Q Oh, thank you. I appreciate that. Yes, sir.
SECRETARY POMPEO: So you can now report that there are two senior leaders that have said that your statement — your question was ludicrous. (Laughter.)
Second point, with respect to North Korea: Look, we went —
Q Well, if it’s so ludicrous — if I may ask, if it’s so ludicrous — and I apologize for not remembering that you were the CIA Director. Obviously, you were the CIA Director. If it’s so ludicrous, why did the Deputy Attorney General have discussions about it behind the scenes?
SECRETARY POMPEO: I find the question ludicrous. I’ve been involved — I’ve been at the center of this administration, along with lots of other folks, from virtually day one. I think it was actually day three or four. I’ve never heard anyone talk about it, whisper about it, joke about it in any way. I’ve been in a lot of meetings with a lot of senior officials from this government.
Your question on North Korea: Remember the history. We went at this the other way for decades, and North Korea continued to build its nuclear program. Right? We tried to do details. We tried to do step-for-step. We tried to do trade-for-trade. Each of those failed.
We’re coming at this from a different direction. We’re bringing the two senior leaders, the individuals who can actually make the decisions that will move this process forward, bring them together so we can continue to make progress towards what the U.N. Security Council has demanded and what Chairman Kim has promised he would do.
That’s the effort. There remains work to be done. There will be some time before we get to complete denuclearization for sure. But we’ve been at this the other way for an awfully long time and failed, and put America in the position it finds itself today: At risk from North Korean nuclear weapons.
Q And wouldn’t it be ludicrous to have another meeting with Kim Jong Un if you don’t have the details in place?
SECRETARY POMPEO: Absolutely not. If we can continue to make progress and have conversations, I think there’s enormous value in that.
MS. WALTERS: (Inaudible) in the back.
Q Yeah, hi. Secretary Pompeo, in your terms about denuclearization, you left out the word “irreversible.” Was that a mistake or deliberate?
SECRETARY POMPEO: Complete mistake. Completely irreversible. Thank you. Thank you for correcting me.
MS. WALTERS: Thank you all for attending today. Thank you.
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