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Trump Says He Has Strong Message on China in UN Speech

U.S. President Donald Trump talks to reporters as he departs for campaign travel to Ohio from the South Lawn at the White House in Washington, Sept. 21, 2020.

U.S. President Donald Trump’s turn to address the U.N. General Assembly comes Tuesday with prerecorded remarks that he says include “a strong message on China.”

Speaking to reporters Monday, Trump did not specify any of the topics he focused on with regard to China. But he and his administration have been sharply critical of China’s handling of the coronavirus, raised security concerns about the practices of Chinese companies such as TikTok and Huawei, and accused China of meddling in U.S. elections.

Trump has coupled his coronavirus complaints against China with those targeting the World Health Organization. He has cut funding to the U.N. agency while accusing it of being too close to China and saying neither did enough to curtail the outbreak in its early days.

Trump’s own administration has received sharp criticism for its own handling of the coronavirus, with the United States leading the world with about 6.9 million confirmed infections and 200,000 deaths.

The coronavirus pandemic has altered the annual event during which world leaders typically gather in New York and await their turn to address the assembly. Trump said he recorded his address Monday afternoon.

White House officials did not give any preview of topics besides China that Trump raises in his speech.

Given the world stage, he could be expected to highlight the recent U.S. brokering of economic cooperation between Serbia and Kosovo, and the deals his administration helped negotiate to normalize Israeli relations with Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates.

Another expected topic would be Iran as the United States, in defiance of other U.N. Security Council members, declared it has reimposed sanctions against Iran related to the 2015 international agreement on the country’s nuclear program.

Other signatories of the Iran nuclear deal have dismissed the U.S. action, arguing that since the Trump administration withdrew from the pact in 2018 it does not have the standing to utilize the snapback sanctions mechanism the Security Council approved.