The Latest: North Korea's top diplomat heading to UN meeting

AP News
Posted: Sep 18, 2017 11:44 PM
The Latest: North Korea's top diplomat heading to UN meeting

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The latest on the U.N. General Assembly meeting (all times local):

11:30 p.m.

North Korea's top diplomat is headed to New York to attend the annual meeting of the U.N. General Assembly.

Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho arrived Tuesday in Beijing after departing Pyongyang, the North Korean capital, on an Air Koryo flight.

It's not the first time for a North Korean foreign minister to attend the General Assembly, but this visit comes at a time of increased tension on the Korean Peninsula.

The U.N. Security Council imposed harsher sanctions on North Korea last week to try to get the country to halt its nuclear weapons and missile development. Four days later, North Korea launched an intermediate-range missile over Japan and into the Pacific.

The six-day General Assembly starts Tuesday and brings together world leaders including President Donald Trump.


7:40 p.m.

Two-time Oscar-winning actor Robert De Niro is at the United Nations to appeal to all countries and organizations to help rebuild the devastated Caribbean island of Barbuda and ensure that "paradise is not lost."

De Niro spoke Monday at a hastily called meeting on Hurricane Irma, the most powerful Atlantic Ocean hurricane in recorded history. The meeting of top U.N. officials and government leaders from several hard-hit Caribbean countries came ahead of the annual global gathering of the world's leaders at the U.N. General Assembly that opens Tuesday.

Irma wreaked havoc in the Caribbean earlier this month, including damaging or destroying an estimated 90 percent of the structures on the small island of Barbuda where the actor co-owns a resort.

De Niro recalled Barbuda as an "unspoiled beauty, a paradise found" on his first visit many years ago. Now, he said, "we have a humanitarian crisis, an entire island destroyed."

He told the meeting: "We must act together to help the most vulnerable. The recovery process will be a long, hard road. ... Working together with all of you, Barbuda can rise to be stronger and be more resilient."


5:10 p.m.

The plight of Myanmar's Rohingya Muslims that U.N. officials have described as ethnic cleansing is getting early attention at the annual gathering of government leaders at the world body.

Britain on Monday presided over a meeting of several Western and Muslim-majority governments that are urging senior Myanmar officials to end the violence and allow humanitarian access.

More than 400,000 Rohingya have fled from Myanmar to Bangladesh in the past month amid a military crackdown triggered by insurgent attacks on security posts in late August.

British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said the violence is a "stain" on Myanmar's reputation, and it's vital that Aung San Suu Kyi and her civilian government make clear the abuses "must stop."

The closed meeting was also attended by representatives of Bangladesh, Indonesia, Turkey, Australia, Canada, Sweden, Denmark and the United States.


12:35 p.m.

France's top diplomat says dissension and conflict are at their highest level since the Cold War, while cooperation among nations has become more difficult.

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said at a news conference Monday that world leaders are gathering at the U.N. General Assembly for their annual meeting at "a critical moment" that is witnessing "a worrying degradation of the international environment."

He pointed to the increasing number of global crises from fighting terrorism to resolving conflicts in the Middle East and Africa, from tackling North Korea's escalating nuclear program to addressing the flight of more than 400,000 Rohingya Muslims from Myanmar to Bangladesh.

Le Drian said France's priority is to work on concrete solutions to these problems.