UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, warns of a “new Cold War” between the U.S. and China as he opens the General Assembly’s annual debate.
“We are moving in a very dangerous direction.
“Our world cannot afford a future where the two largest economies split the globe in a great fracture,’’ he said.
“A technological and economic divide risks inevitably turning into a geo-strategic and military divide and we must avoid this at all costs.’’
Guterres also called for global solidarity in the face of the coronavirus pandemic, including in vaccine development.
“Vaccinationalism is not only unfair, but it is also self-defeating,’’ he said.
The UN chief spoke to a largely empty General Assembly Hall in New York.
World leaders are to address the forum in pre-recorded video speeches this year due to the pandemic.
CHINA NOT INTERESTED IN ‘HOT OR COLD WAR’
President Xi Jinping of China on Tuesday told the United Nations General Assembly that he had no intention to engage any country in “a cold or hot war”.
Jinping’s remark came amid rising tensions between China and the U,S., whose president, Donald Trump, attacked Beijing in his speech earlier.
“We will continue to narrow differences and resolve disputes with others through dialogue and negotiation.
“We will not seek to develop only ourselves or engage in zero sum game,” Jinping said in his pre-recorded video address to the virtual gathering of world leaders.
UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres had earlier in the day, warned against a “new Cold War” between China and the U.S., saying the face-off between the two countries was moving the world in “a very dangerous direction”.
“Our world cannot afford a future where the two largest economies split the globe in a great fracture, each with its own trade and financial rules and internet and artificial intelligence capacities.
“A technological and economic divide risks inevitably turning into a geo-strategic and military divide. We must avoid this at all costs,” he said.
Relations between the U.S. and China – both nuclear-armed countries and veto power holders in the UN Security Council – have deteriorated since 2019.
The Trump administration is accusing China of unfair trade practices, intellectual property theft, and cyber espionage – all of which Beijing has denied.
The situation had triggered a series of economic sanctions including visa restrictions and expulsions by Washington targeting Chinese government officials, companies, diplomats, and students.
China had retaliated in some cases, including the closure of the American consulate.
In his statement earlier at the Assembly, Trump in his characteristic forthrightness, put China on the spot over its handling of the coronavirus pandemic and the environment.
“We must hold accountable the nation which unleashed this plague onto the world: China,” Trump said.
He accused China of dumping “millions and millions of tons of plastic and trash into the oceans and overfishing other countries’ waters”.
“China’s carbon emissions are nearly twice what the U.S. has, and it’s rising fast.
“Those, who attack America’s exceptional environmental record while ignoring China’s rampant pollution are not interested in the environment.
“They only want to punish America and I will not stand for it,” he said.