General Debate of UN General Assembly ends amid war threats between U.S. and DPRK

Source: Xinhua| 2017-09-26 04:15:42|Editor: yan
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UNITED NATIONS, Sept. 25 (Xinhua) -- The VIP session of this year's UN General Assembly ended on Monday amid threats of war between Washington and Pyongyang.

After all 196 representatives have spoken from the marble podium of the General Assembly hall, Miroslav Lajcak, president of the 72nd session of the UN General Assembly, declared the conclusion of the General Debate at around 1 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time (1700 GMT).

The hottest topic in this year's General Debate is the nuclear issue of the Korean Peninsula. U.S. President Donald Trump in his speech on Tuesday warned that the leader of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), Kim Jong Un, was "on a suicide mission."

"The United States has great strength and patience, but if it is forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea. Rocket Man (Kim) is on a suicide mission for himself and for his regime. The United States is ready, willing and able, but hopefully this will not be necessary."

In his speech to the General Assembly on Saturday, DPRK Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho fought back, calling Trump "mentally deranged." He threatened to strike the entire U.S. mainland with rockets.

"He (Trump) committed an irreversible mistake of making our rockets' visit to the entire U.S. mainland inevitable all the more. None other than Trump himself is on a suicide mission," Ri said.

In a tweet following Ri's speech, Trump wrote: "Just heard Foreign Minister of North Korea speak at U.N. If he echoes thoughts of Little Rocket Man, they won't be around much longer!"

In his closing remarks, Lajcak said the priorities of the 72nd session will be conflict prevention, human rights, and sustainable development and climate change.

"We must draw from national, regional and international experiences of mediation and conflict prevention. We must re-align our approach to emphasize the peace in what we now call peace and security," he said, stressing the importance of UN peacekeeping. "Peace operations are doing a vital job. They work to protect civilians. They support national actors to build and maintain peace."

"You expressed a vision in which human rights, gender equality, and the rule of law are norms. Today they often unfortunately remain the exceptions. So, we have more work to do in realizing this vision," said Lajcak.

"You reminded us all of the promises we have made to people and the planet. Throughout the week, we listened to accounts of the work being done to implement the Sustainable Development Goals. Some of you also made clear that climate change has become a matter of life or death -- for people, ecosystems, ways of life and, even, entire countries. It was therefore heartening to witness a major show of support for the Paris Climate Agreement in this hall," he said.

He said not all of the messages delivered at the General Debate were positive, but it was the right of the delegations to do so. They can speak freely, without censorship.

Lajcak also stressed that differences in unilateral positions should not prevent multilateral agreement. "Our negotiations might be more difficult. But they can also make the outcome stronger."

All 196 representatives -- from 193 UN member states plus representatives of Palestine, the Holy See and the European Union -- have spoken at the General Debate, the first time in 11 years, said Lajcak.

The longest speech recorded this year was by Mahmoud Abbas, president of Palestine, who spoke 43 minutes. The second-longest was made by U.S. President Donald Trump with 41 minutes. Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite's speech was the shortest, with less than five minutes. The suggested time limit for speeches is 15 minutes. But many leaders chose to ignore it. The longest ever General Debate speech was made by late Cuban leader Fidel Castro, who spoke almost five hours.

During this year's week-long General Debate, 421 meetings were held plus 356 side events and 1,528 bilateral meetings, said Brenden Varma, spokesman for Lajack.