4 UN Debuts to Watch

Leaders of China, Libya, Japan, US make first General Assembly speeches
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 21, 2009 6:26 AM CDT
New Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama speaks to the media during his first news conference at the prime minister's official residence in Tokyo, Japan, Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2009.   (AP Photo/Itsuo Inouye)
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(Newser) – This week the world's heads of government gather in New York for the annual UN General Assembly, and attention will be focused on four leaders—two new to office, two long in power—making their debuts at the green marble lectern. NPR outlines who to watch:

  • Hu Jintao: He'll be the first Chinese head of state at the General Assembly since the country joined the UN. He'll use the rare appearance to push for economic cooperation—but many see a sign of China's newly assertive foreign stance.

  • Moammar Gadhafi: It's his first time at the UN—and first visit to America—in 40 years. Once a pariah, he may try to smooth the controversy over the recent release of the Lockerbie bomber.
  • Yukio Hatoyama: The man of the hour is Japan's new prime minister, who took office days ago after 50 years of conservative rule. He's pledged to put distance between Japan and the US. What form will that take?
  • Barack Obama: Our young leader will be the first US president to chair a Security Council session. It's a gesture of America's new internationalism, but Obama's domestic woes are worldwide news.