Trump holds unusual meeting with UN Security Council amid mounting tensions over North Korea

by WorldTribune Staff, April 24, 2017

U.S. President Donald Trump was expected to focus on rising tensions with North Korea as he hosted members of the UN Security Council at the White House on April 24.

The meeting was seen as highly unusual given reports of military movements in northeast Asia but also because of Trump’s harsh criticism of the UN during the 2016 campaign and proposed deep cuts in the U.S. contribution to the UN in the president’s budget outline.

An F/A-18E Super Hornet from the Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 137 “Kestrels” takes off from the USS Carl Vinson flight deck in the South China Sea on April 12. /U.S. Navy

Chinese President Xi Jinping, meanwhile, called for all sides to exercise restraint, Reuters reported, as the militaries of the United States, Japan, South Korea, Russia and China were reportedly planning for the outbreak of war.

China, however, is not exercising restraint itself according to the current edition of “China prepares to fill a post-Kim Jong-Un vacuum in North Korea.

The entire U.S. Senate has been summoned for a White House briefing Wednesday on the North Korea situation, administration officials confirmed.

Reuters first reported that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis and other top officials would update the lawmakers.

Trump and Xi spoke by phone on April 24 as Japan conducted exercises with a U.S. aircraft carrier strike group headed for Korean waters.

The conversation came amid growing concerns that Pyongyang will conduct another nuclear or missile test to mark the 85th anniversary on April 25 of the founding of its Korean People’s Army.

“(China) hopes that the relevant parties can maintain restraint and avoid actions that would increase tensions in the Korean Peninsula,” Xi said, according to a statement from the foreign ministry.

“The only way to realize denuclearization in the Korean Peninsula and quickly resolve North Korea’s nuclear problem is for each relevant party to fulfill its duties.”

North Korea said the deployment of the USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier strike group was “an extremely dangerous act by those who plan a nuclear war to invade.”

“The United States should not run amok and should consider carefully any catastrophic consequence from its foolish military provocative act,” Rodong Sinmun, the official newspaper of the North’s ruling Workers’ Party, said in a commentary on April 24.

“What’s only laid for aggressors is dead bodies,” the newspaper said.

U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley told NBC’s “Today” program that the United States and the international community were maintaining pressure on North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un but were “not trying to pick a fight with him.”

Asked whether a pre-emptive strike was under consideration, she said: “We are not going to do anything unless he gives us reason to do something.”