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North Korea

Kim Jong-un might be invited to speak at the UN if the Singapore meeting with Donald Trump goes well, analysts say

UN Secretary-General António Guterres, a backer of denuclearisation efforts, is likely to ask Kim to address the General Assembly

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 09 June, 2018, 5:12am
UPDATED : Saturday, 09 June, 2018, 11:29pm

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un could be invited to speak at the United Nations in New York in September if his June 12 meeting with US President Donald Trump in Singapore goes well, analysts say.

Michael Green, a senior analyst on Asia and Japan at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, said that Kim was “getting not only a summit” with Trump, but also the “first summits” with other national and international leaders.

Trump-Kim summit: in Singapore, a calm before the media storm

Citing unidentified diplomatic sources, Green told the South China Morning Post that UN Secretary-General António Guterres would invite Kim to address the UN General Assembly, the UN’s main policymaking arm, in September.

Victor Cha, a former Asian affairs director at President George W. Bush’s National Security Council who had been considered for the role of US ambassador to South Korea, said he also thought Guterres could invite Kim to the General Assembly in September.

UN spokesman Farhan Haq did not immediately respond to questions about any possible invitation.

But Guterres has supported a US-North Korea summit meeting. He voiced disappointment in late May after Trump abruptly announced his intention to cancel the Singapore plans, and urged both nations to continue their dialogue so as to “find a path to the peaceful and verifiable denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula”.

After Guterres met with Trump last month in Washington, the White House said that the two discussed North Korea, among other issues of mutual interest.

Japan fears being sidelined in a Trump deal with North Korea

Already this year, Kim has met Chinese President Xi Jinping twice, in late March in Beijing and early May in Dalian, China. Speculation about a Russia-North Korea meeting also surfaced after Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov met Kim last week in Pyongyang.

A trip to New York and the UN could fit in with other possible plans to visit the United States.

On Thursday, during a joint news conference with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Trump said he might invite Kim to the US depending on the outcome of their meeting in Singapore.

"Yes ... if it goes well, I think that could happen," Trump said.

Cha thought such a trip was likely. “It’s clear, based on what Trump has said so far, he wants to invite him,” he said.

The idea of a meeting between Abe and Kim has been floated since the first meeting Kim held with his counterpart, South Korean President Moon Jae-in, in April.

Days after that meeting, Moon’s office said that Kim was willing to hold talks with Abe “at any time”, while Japan also expressed interests in a meeting, according to Japanese media reports.

Green said that a Japan-North Korea meeting would “probably” happen.