The United Nations General Assembly opens Tuesday in New York in an unusually quiet hall as the annual global diplomatic meet goes online amid the Covid-19 pandemic. World leaders have been invited to provide pre-recorded messages for the gathering, where delegations will be represented in person by a lone diplomat.
US President Donald Trump told reporters that he would be delivering a “strong message” to China in his speech at the virtual summit.
Chinese President Xi Jinping is also slated to address the UN General Assembly on Tuesday, as are Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Russia’s Vladimir Putin, Iran’s Hassan Rouhani and France’s Emmanuel Macron.
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- Guterres warns against ‘new Cold War’
Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned that the world is facing an “epochal” health crisis, the biggest economic calamity since the Great Depression and worries of a new Cold War between the US and China.
In his grim state of the world speech, the UN chief called for global unity, first and foremost to fight the coronavirus pandemic, and sharply criticized populism and nationalism for failing to contain the virus, and for often making things worse.
Guterres: ‘Covid-19 has layed bare the world’s fragilities’
Guterres called for a global cease-fire on March 23 to tackle the pandemic, and he appealed for a 100-day push by the international community, led by the Security Council, “to make this a reality by the end of the year.”
“There is only one winner of conflict during a pandemic: the virus itself,” he stressed, reiterating a warning he made to world leaders a year ago about increasing US-China rivalry.
“Our world cannot afford a future where the two largest economies split the globe in a Great Fracture — each with its own trade and financial rules and internet and artificial intelligence capacities,” Guterres said. “We must do everything to avoid a new Cold War.”