Biden says US does not seek 'new Cold War', in reference to China

UNITED NATIONS (AFP) – US President Joe Biden told the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday (Sept 21) that the United States does not seek a “new Cold War”, in a reference to relations with China.

“The United States is ready to work with any nation that steps up and pursues peaceful resolution to share challenges, even if we have intense disagreement in other areas,” he told world leaders in New York.

Earlier, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres also urged the US and China to engage in dialogue, warning of an increasingly divided world.

“I fear our world is creeping towards two different sets of economic, trade, financial and technology rules, two divergent approaches in the development of artificial intelligence – and ultimately two different military and geopolitical strategies,” Mr Guterres said as he opened the annual UN General Assembly on Tuesday.

“This is a recipe for trouble. It would be far less predictable than the Cold War. To restore trust and inspire hope, we need cooperation,” he said. “We need dialogue. We need understanding.”

Mr Biden has previously described a rising China as the paramount challenge of the 21st century.

Chinese President Xi Jinping is also set to address the United Nations, but by video, in light of Covid-19 restrictions.

Mr Guterres said that divisions between the two powers set back efforts on other key priorities, including reversing coups. 

Since February, militaries have seized control both in Myanmar and Guinea, and Afghanistan’s Western-backed government collapsed to the Taliban.

“We are also seeing an explosion in seizures of power by force. Military coups are back. The lack of unity among the international community does not help,” Mr Guterres said.

Mr Biden on Tuesday said that the US would return to the Iranian nuclear deal in full if Teheran does the same. 

He said the US was working with China, France, Russia, Britain and Germany to “engage Iran diplomatically and to seek a return to” the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, which America left in 2018.

“We’re prepared to return to full compliance if Iran does the same,” he added.

This story is developing.

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