‘War will benefit no one’: Global concern over US-China tensions

World's leaders on Wednesday addressed to the United Nations General Assembly to warn global stability and peace could be “destroyed” if growing geopolitical rivalries persist.
September 25, 2020 | 08:04
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The world facing the risk of a new cold war as China - US tensions escalates. (Photo: FT)

The world facing the risk of a new cold war, said UN

Concern over escalating tensions between the United States and China has taken centre stage at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), with Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warning against a “new Cold War” and the presidents of Indonesia, the Philippines and France expressing worry over the threats posed to world peace and stability by the superpower rivalry.

Opening a virtual “general debate” of world leaders – a first in the UN’s 75-year history – Guterres said on Tuesday that the world was “moving in a very dangerous direction”.

“We must do everything to avoid a new Cold War,” he said. “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.

The stark warning came as Washington and Beijing clash on several issues, ranging from trade, technology and the coronavirus pandemic to US support for Taiwan as well as China’s claims in the South China Sea and its crackdown in Hong Kong and Xinjiang, Al Jazeera cited.

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Secretary-General Antonio Guterres during the 75th annual UN General Assembly. (Photo: Reuters)

US - China tensions in full display

US President Donald Trump, in a very short virtual speech, urged the world body to hold Beijing “accountable” for failing to contain the virus that was first recorded in the Chinese city of Wuhan and has killed more than 200,000 Americans and nearly 1 million people worldwide.

China’s ambassador rejected all accusations against Beijing as “totally baseless”.

China's president, Xi Jinping, said on Monday: "No country has the right to dominate global affairs, control the destiny of others, or keep advantages in development all to itself. Even less should onebe allowed to do whatever it likes and be be hegemon, bully or boss of the world. Unilateralism is a dead end," The Jakarta Post cited.

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Indonesian President Joko Widodo addresses the United Nations General Assembly. (Photo: AP)

World's concerns over China - Us tensions

Amid the tensions, French President Emmanuel Macron said on Tuesday the coronavirus pandemic should shock nations into working together – and resisting a world order dominated by China and the US.

“The only solution can come from our cooperation,” he said. “Today’s world cannot be left to the rivalry between China and the United States, regardless of the weight in the world that these two great powers share, regardless of the history that ties us.”

According to South China Morning Post, Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo on Wednesday used his first address to the United Nations General Assembly to warn global stability and peace could be “destroyed” if growing geopolitical rivalries persist.

“War will benefit no one. There is no point of celebrating victory among ruins. There is no point of becoming the largest economic power in the midst of a sinking world,” the president said.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte also highlighted the dangers of US-China tensions.

“Given the size and military might of the contenders, we can only imagine and be aghast at the terrible toll on human life and property that shall be inflicted if the ‘word war’ deteriorates into a real war of nuclear weapons and missiles,” he told the UNGA on Wednesday.

Indonesia and Philippines' comments came as tensions between the United States and China escalate, including in the Bien Dong Sea.

The statement was seen as the Philippine leader’s strongest so far on the Bien Dong Sea dispute, given his previous pronouncements downplaying the issue in exchange for Manila’s closer geopolitical and economic ties with Beijing.

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