New York, NY – Tensions between the U.S. and China reached its peak at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) last week. Ties between the two world powers have already been strained on various fronts ranging from trade to technology. The U.S.’s support for Taiwan, China’s claims in the South China Sea, and a crackdown in Hong Kong and Xinjiang, have caused serious conflicts between these two superpowers.
At the UNGA, President Trump blamed China for COVID-19 and called for China to be held accountable for the pandemic. He blamed China for the death of 200,000 COVID-infected Americans and nearly 1 million people worldwide, insinuating a Chinese cover-up.
The Chinese government called these accusations an unfounded distraction and President Xi Jinping warned of the risks of a clash of civilizations, reiterating that “no country has the right to dominate global affairs, control the destiny of others, or keep advantages in development all to itself.” President Xi, however, said that his country has no intention of entering into a cold war with any nation.
In response to Trump’s allegations against the World Health Organization (WHO), President Xi said that “We should follow the guidance of science, give full play to the leading role of the World Health Organization, and launch a joint international response. Any attempt of politicizing the issue, or stigmatization, must be rejected.”
An Exclusive With UN Spokesperson, Stephane Dujjaric
At the UNGA, UN Secretary-General António Guterres, without naming the U.S. or China, warned the delegates that “we must do everything to avoid a new Cold War.” He went on to emphasize that “We are moving in a very dangerous direction. 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.”
According to Guterres “a technological and economic divide risks turning into a geo-strategic and military divide rule which should be avoided at all costs.”
In an exclusive interview with the Current Affairs Times, Stephane Dujjaric, Guterres’ spokesperson, added that delegates expressed deep concern at the Security Council meeting.
According to Dujjaric, the Secretary-General believes that the major powers need to stand in cooperation with each other on the global stage. Guterres’ office has requested the UN member states mediate between the two superpowers, as well as cooperate with the Secretary General as he works towards ensuring world peace.
Dujjaric further confirmed that the UN Secretary-General is offering full support to WHO, both scientifically and financially, as the entire UN system collaboratively fights the pandemic.
The U.S Department of State’s Perspective
In an email, the U.S. Department of State directed Current Affairs Times to comments by the Secretary of State. Mike Pompeo confirmed that Senator William Roth, from Delaware received an email from Wu Ting, a Chinese Consulate official responsible for China-Wisconsin relations.
That email allegedly talked about China’s transparency and efficiency in handling COVID-19 matters. Pompeo confirmed that Ms. Wu’s description of the actions that the Chinese Communist Party took in response to the virus, were false.
In another press statement, while addressing human rights violations in China, the Secretary of State said “Chinese attempts to eliminate those who are not Han Chinese in west China, is one of the worst human rights violations in recent memory, certainly of this century. We’ve watched today the challenge that Christians and Catholics have, to practice their faith inside of China. The Chinese Communist Party is attempting to rewrite the Bible itself to Sinicize the Christian doctrine. That’s unacceptable.”
The U.S Secretary of State has repeatedly warned that the greatest external threat that the U.S. faces over the long term is President Xi’s Chinese Communist Party. Pompeo believes that the Chinese Communist Party is trying to undermine U.S. democracy. His comments sparked backlash between the two countries.
Chinese Foreign Affairs Ministry’s Stand
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin responded to the events that occurred at UNGA by stating that the U.S needs to stop political manipulation, labeling, or politicizing the virus. They should join the international community in this fight, rather than scapegoat or smear others.
In response to Pompeo’s comments, Wenbin said, “…when Pompeo claimed to build out a global coalition against China, he was only talking nonsense. He won’t see that day. And his successors won’t see that day either, because that day will never come.”
The Presidents of Indonesia, the Philippines, and France have expressed worry over threats to world peace and stability by this superpower rivalry.
As the Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, another questionable world leader observed, “When elephants fight, it is the grass that gets trampled flat.” The question is, when will this rivalry end?
Image Credit: Brendan Smialowski | AFP | Getty Images
- Current Affairs Times Exclusive Interview – The UN Secretary General’s Spokesperson Stephane Dujjaric.
- Dept. of State, National Press Office.
- China Foreign Ministry – Press Release Copies
- WHO Media Inquiries Office.
- “UN General Assembly: US-China tensions flare over coronavirus”
- ‘War will benefit no one’: Global concern over US-China tensions”