UN: UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Tuesday urged the world to prevent a Cold War between the United States and China and halt conflicts so it can focus on the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We must do everything to avoid a new Cold War,” Guterres said in an address as he opened an almost entirely virtual UN General Assembly.
“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 — each with its own trade and financial rules and internet and artificial intelligence capacities,” he said, without saying the United States and China by name.
Guterres has campaigned for an end to all violent conflicts as the world instead focuses on stopping the disease. He pointed to some partial successes including ceasefires declared in Cameroon, Colombia and Cameroon.
He pressed for a universal ceasefire by the end of the year.
“I appeal for a stepped-up international effort — led by the Security Council — to achieve a global ceasefire by the end of this year,” Guterres said.
Meanwhile, Chinese President Xi Jinping gave a robust defense of China’s ambitions Tuesday in a speech to the UN, warning against the perils of a “clash of civilizations” during a pandemic that has ripped through the world.
But Xi reassured world leaders his country had no desire for “hegemony, expansion or sphere of influence.”
“China has no intention to enter a Cold War with any country,” he said, insisting Beijing is instead a bulwark of international systems such as the World Trade Organization and a willing partner in the face of diplomatic spats.
President Xi Jinping also said that China will go carbon neutral by 2060, a target hailed by environmental activists as a major stride forward. Xi renewed his support for the Paris climate accord and called for a green focus as the world recovers from the COVID-19 crisis.