Biden seeks global leadership on major issues such as climate change
UNITED NATIONS: President Joe Biden told the world on Tuesday that the United States does not want a new Cold War with China, as he vowed to shift away from post-9/11 conflicts and take a global leadership role in crises ranging from climate to Covid-19.
Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping both made major new pledges on climate change in speeches hours apart at the UN General Assembly, raising cautious hope that the world’s two largest emitters and polluters can bring progress.
The Biden administration has identified a rising and authoritarian China as the most pressing challenge of the twenty-first century, but in his inaugural address to the annual United Nations summit, Biden made it clear that he was not seeking to sow divisions.
“We are not seeking a new Cold War or a world divided into rigid blocs,” Biden stated.
“The United States is ready to work with any nation that steps up and pursues peaceful resolution to shared challenges even if we have an intense disagreement in other areas.”
Biden did not mention China by name, but he did express concern about human rights in Xinjiang, where experts estimate that more than a million Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities are imprisoned.
After his controversial troop withdrawal from Afghanistan, where the Taliban quickly took control, Biden declared himself the first US president in 20 years not to be leading a war.
Instead, America is “starting a new era of relentless diplomacy,” according to Biden, who pledged to work closely with allies.
Speaking from the rostrum of the United Nations General Assembly, where previous US presidents, including George W. Bush, have lobbied for military action, Biden stated that the use of force must be a “tool of last resort.”
In a video address to the summit, Xi made no direct mention of the US, but instead called for “mutual respect” among powers and stated that “democracy is not a special right.”
As pressure mounts to address an escalating climate crisis, Xi announced that China would no longer fund overseas coal projects, effectively ending the last significant source of aid for dirty energy.
His announcement came after Biden promised to double US climate aid to the most vulnerable countries to an estimated $11.4 billion per year, closing a key gap ahead of a high-stakes UN climate conference in Glasgow in November.
The two announcements were applauded by Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. However, he had previously urged dialogue between Washington and Beijing, warning that the world was drifting toward two opposing systems.
“This is a recipe for disaster. It would be far less predictable than the Cold War, for example, “According to Guterres.
For the first time in two years, the United Nations General Assembly is meeting in person, albeit with limited capacity and pandemic precautions.
The measures include replacing the microphone after each speaker, which is likely to please the 78-year-old Biden, who spoke after Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, who defied advice to attend only if vaccinated against Covid-19.
On Wednesday, Biden called a virtual summit to combat the pandemic and teased “additional commitments,” which US media reported to be the purchase of an additional 500 million vaccine doses to donate overseas.
Biden concludes a busy diplomatic week with the White House with the leaders in Australia, India, and Japan at a never-ceasing four-way summit – the so-called ‘quad’ widely viewed against China as a united front.
Biden met Australian Premier Scott Morrison in New York but he suddenly confronted a huge roadblock – France – in his quest to build coalitions.
Paris furiously summoned the ambassador in Washington after Australia canceled the contract for French conventional submarines to support US nuclear versions as part of the new partnership agreed with Washington and London. The agreement was multi-billion-dollar.
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