Guterres Urges US, China to Rebuild Their Relationship to Avoid New Cold War - Report
03:50 GMT 21.09.2021 (Updated: 20:11 GMT 19.10.2022)
© REUTERS / POOLAntonio Guterres, Secretary General of the United Nations, speaks to reporters after a meeting with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson for climate change discussions during the 76th Session of the U.N. General Assembly in New York, at United Nations headquarters in New York, U.S., September 20, 2021.
Guterres warned world leaders two years ago that the world may split in two, with the US and China implementing rival internets, currencies, trade regulations, and banking norms, as well as "and their own zero-sum geopolitical and military strategies."
Head of the United Nations Antonio Guterres urged China and the United States to repair their "totally broken" relationship before difficulties between the two huge and powerful countries spill over to the rest of the world, sparking a potential new Cold War.
In the interview with The Associated Press ahead of this week's annual UN summit of world leaders, Guterres emphasized that the world's two largest economic powers should cooperate on climate and negotiate more vigorously on trade and technology, especially in times of persistent political splits about human rights, economics, online security, and sovereignty in the South China Sea.
"Unfortunately, today we only have confrontation," Guterres is quoted in the report as saying. "We need to re-establish a functional relationship between the two powers."
The head of the UN said that two competing geopolitical and military strategies would bring "dangers" and divide the world. As a result, he stated, the strained relationship must be mended – and quickly.
“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,” he underscored.
He also noted 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."
A new Cold War, according to the UN chief as cited by AP, could be more dangerous because the animosity which existed between the Soviet Union and the US imposed clear rules, and both parties were aware of the risk of nuclear war. Backchannels and forums arose as a result, he said, “to guarantee that things would not get out of control.”
“Now, today, everything is more fluid, and even the experience that existed in the past to manage crisis is no longer there,” Guterres said.
He reportedly stated the recently announced AUKUS pact between the US and the UK to arm Australia with nuclear-powered submarines is "just one small piece of a more complex puzzle... this completely dysfunctional relationship between China and the US."
The secretly negotiated deal enraged China as well as France, as the latter had previously inked a contract with Australia for a dozen French conventional diesel-electric submarines valued at least $66 billion.
On Monday, the White House spokeswoman, Jen Psaki, said the government disagrees with Guterres' assessment of the US-China relationship. She claimed that the nature of the ties is "one of competition rather than conflict," adding that Biden is not "looking to pursue a new Cold War with any country in the world."
21 September 2021, 02:31 GMT
The Cold War between the Soviet Union and its Eastern Bloc allies and the United States and its Western allies began soon after WWII and ended with the Soviet Union's disintegration in 1991. It was a showdown between two nuclear-armed superpowers with opposing ideologies: communism on the one hand and capitalism on the other.