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UN chief warns US and China against “new cold war” and calls bilateral ties “dysfunctional”

By on September 20, 2021 0

United Nations (UN) Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has warned of a potential new cold war between the United States and China. He also pleaded with two of the world’s superpowers to mend their “completely dysfunctional” relationship. In an interview with The Associated Press ahead of this week’s annual UN meeting of world leaders, the UN chief said Washington and Beijing should cooperate on global issues such as climate and negotiate more vigorously on trade and technology. Major world powers are likely to indulge in lingering political rifts over human rights, online security and sovereignty in the South China Sea, Guterres said.

Guterres said: “Unfortunately today we only have one showdown.”

“We must restore a functional relationship between the two powers,” he said, adding that it is “essential to tackle the problems of vaccination, the problems of climate change and many other global challenges that do not can be resolved without constructive relations within the international community and primarily among the superpowers.

Sino-US relations can divide the world, says Guterres

Guterres’ remarks in an interview with AP on Saturday came two years after warning world leaders of the risk of the world splitting in two. At the time, the UN chief noted that the United States and China were creating competing interests, currency, trade, financial rules “and their own zero-sum geopolitical and military strategies.” Reiterating the same concerns on September 18, Guterres said two competing geopolitical and military strategies would pose “dangers” and divide the world. Therefore, he called for the rectification of bilateral relations.

“We must avoid at all costs a cold war that would be different from the last one, and probably more dangerous and more difficult to manage,” said Guterres.

The “cold war” between the Soviet Union and its Eastern Bloc allies and the United States and its Western allies began just after World War II. The so-called war finally ended with the split of the Soviet Union in 1991. Millions of dollars were spent clashing two nuclear superpowers with opposing ideologies. There was communism and authoritarianism on one side while capitalism and democracy were on the other.

Why is the Cold War “more perilous”?

The UN chief said a new Cold War could be “more perilous” this time because Soviet-American antipathy created obvious rules. He also said that both sides were paying attention to nuclear destruction which created channels and forums “to ensure that things didn’t get out of hand.” He added: “Now, today everything is more fluid, and even the experience that existed in the past to deal with the crisis is no longer there.”

Guterres on AUKUS

Weighing in on the US, UK and Australian AUKUS strategic defense pact, the UN chief said the US-UK decision to provide Australia with nuclear-powered submarines for undetected operations in Asia “n is just one small piece of a more complex puzzle … a completely dysfunctional relationship between China and the United States. Apparently, the deal secretly negotiated between the three nations has left China and France furious. Paris had signed a contract with Canberra of around $ 66 billion for a dozen French conventional diesel-electric submarines.

Guterres on the role of the UN in Afghanistan

According to AP, when Guterres was asked about the role of the United Nations in dealing with the crisis that has unfolded in Afghanistan since the Taliban took power on August 15, the UN chief said it would be a ” fantasy “of believing that the UN intervention” will suddenly be able to produce an inclusive government, to guarantee that all human rights are respected, to guarantee that no terrorist will ever exist in Afghanistan, that drug trafficking will stop.

However, he noted that although the UN has “limited capacity and weight”, the peacemaker plays an important role in directing action to provide Afghans with crucial humanitarian assistance. He told AP that the UN is calling the attention of the Taliban to the importance of an inclusive government that protects human rights and especially women.

Reasoning why the international community should engage with the Taliban, he said, “There is clearly a power struggle among different groups within the Taliban leadership. The situation is not yet clarified.


(With AP inputs)