Warning of the possibility of a new Cold War, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, in an interview with The Associated Press, appealed to China and the United States to repair their “completely stalled” relationship before problems between the two big and powerful nations spread to the rest of the planet.
Guterres spoke to the Associated Press ahead of this week’s annual meeting of world leaders at the United Nations, a gathering dominated by COVID-19, climate concerns, and disagreements across the planet.
Guterres said the world’s two major economic powers should cooperate on climate and negotiate more resolutely on trade and technology, even as political divisions persist over human rights, economics, online security and sovereignty in the South China Sea.
“Unfortunately, we live today with only confrontations,” Guterres said in an interview with The Associated Press on Saturday.
He added, “We need to re-establish an effective relationship between the two powers,” describing this as “necessary to deal with vaccination problems, climate change problems, and many other global challenges that cannot be resolved without constructive relations within the international community, and in particular between the great powers.”
Two years ago, Guterres warned world leaders of the danger of splitting the world in two, with the United States and China creating rival communications networks, currencies, trade and financial bases, and their “zero-political and military strategies.”
He repeated the same warning in his interview with The Associated Press, adding that the presence of two geopolitical and military strategies in a confrontation would cause “risks” to divide the world. Hence, he stressed the need to repair this relationship soon.
Guterres added, “We must avoid a cold war at all costs,” considering that this war will be different from the previous one and is likely to be “more dangerous and more difficult to deal with.”
The Cold War broke out between the Soviet Union and its allies from the Eastern Bloc on the one hand, and the United States and its Western allies on the other hand, immediately after World War II and ended with the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. That war constituted a conflict between two superpowers, both of which possess nuclear weapons and have a counter ideology, and communism was And authoritarian rule in the face of capitalism and democracy.
The Secretary-General of the United Nations warned that a new Cold War would be more dangerous because the previous enmity between the United States and the Soviet Union then created clear rules and both sides were aware of the seriousness of the devastation that a nuclear confrontation would cause, and that awareness created back channels and forums to ensure that things did not get out of control.
Today, things are more fluid and the experience of managing the previous crisis no longer exists, according to Guterres.
He added that the agreement between the United States and Britain to give Australia nuclear-powered submarines is only a small part of a larger and more complex picture of the failed relationship between China and the United States.
The secretly negotiated deal angered both China and France, after the latter signed a deal with Australia worth at least $66 billion to sell a number of French conventional diesel-electric submarines.