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Trump: The UN is an 'underperformer' but it has 'huge potential'

  • Trump met with ambassadors from United Nations Security Council members, calling the institution an "underperformer."
  • He said the U.N. should be prepared to impose tougher sanctions on North Korea as fears grow that it could potentially conduct another missile test.

President Donald Trump again pushed for changes at the United Nations on Monday as the powerful nations on its Security Council face an escalating confrontation over North Korea's missile program.

Ahead of a lunch meeting with the ambassadors from Security Council member countries, Trump called the international institution an "underperformer" but said he hopes it can better deal with threats around the world.

"The United Nations is an underperformer, but it has huge potential ... I think that the United Nations has tremendous potential," Trump said.

President Donald Trump, sitting next to U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley, speaks during a working lunch with ambassadors of countries on the United Nations Security Council and their spouses, Monday, April 24, 2017, in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington.
Susan Walsh | AP
President Donald Trump, sitting next to U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley, speaks during a working lunch with ambassadors of countries on the United Nations Security Council and their spouses, Monday, April 24, 2017, in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington.

The president said the Security Council should prepare for the possibility of new, tougher sanctions on Pyongyang, as North Korea pushes ahead with its nuclear program in the face of foreign opposition. Trump said the world is wearing "blinders" when it comes to North Korea, and has done so for "decades."

"The status quo in North Korea is also unacceptable, and the council must be prepared to impose additional and stronger sanctions on North Korean nuclear and ballistic missile
programs," he said.

The comments came after Trump held separate private phone calls with both Chinese President Xi Jinping and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. Japan has sent two warships to join a U.S. aircraft carrier group headed toward Korean waters.

Fears have grown that North Korea could attempt another nuclear test, defying U.N. sanctions.

In December, Trump referred to the U.N. as a "club" for people to "have a good time." As a candidate, he questioned the institution's effectiveness in dealing with international threats.

— Reuters contributed to this report