United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has warned of a potential new cold war between China and the United States, and implored the two major powers to repair their “completely dysfunctional” relationship.
“We need to avoid at all cost a cold war that would be different from the past one, and probably more dangerous and more difficult to manage,” Guterres said ahead of the annual UN General Assembly gathering of world leaders – a convening blemished by COVID, climate concerns and contentiousness across the planet.
Guterres said the world’s two major economic powers should be cooperating on climate and negotiating more robustly on trade and technology even given persisting political fissures about human rights, economics, online security and sovereignty in the South China Sea.
“Unfortunately, today we only have confrontation,” Guterres said on Saturday in an interview with the Associated Press.
“We need to re-establish a functional relationship between the two powers,” he said, adding that it is “essential to address the problems of vaccination, the problems of climate change and many other global challenges that cannot be solved without constructive relations within the international community and mainly among the superpowers”.
Two years ago, Guterres warned global leaders of the risk of the world splitting into two camps, with the US and China creating rival internets, currency, trade, financial rules “and their own zero-sum geopolitical and military strategies”.
He reiterated that warning in the AP interview, adding that two rival geopolitical and military strategies would pose “dangers” and divide the world. Thus, he said, the foundering relationship must be repaired – and soon.
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