China, United States scare at UN over climate and virus

China, US flirt with UN over climate and virus

BEIJING | China on Wednesday accused the United States of being a “serious obstacle” to the fight against global warming, after a remote clash by its leaders at the UN General Assembly in a climate of “new Cold War “.

Donald Trump's United States and Xi Jinping's China on Tuesday exposed their disagreements on many topics: international cooperation, management of the novel coronavirus epidemic and global warming.

“The United Nations must hold China responsible for its actions” at the start of COVID-19, launched the American president at the opening of this annual diplomatic high mass, virtual because of the health crisis. He accused the rival power of having allowed the “Chinese virus”, a phrase that arouses Beijing's ire, “to infect the world”.

“The Chinese government and the World Health Organization, which is almost controlled by China, have wrongly stated that there is no evidence of human transmission,” he lamented in a recorded video, thus justifying the withdrawal of the United States from this UN agency.

The Republican billionaire, whose management of COVID-19, much disputed, weighs on his chances of re-election in the election of November 3, has promised to “distribute a vaccine” and “end the pandemic” to enter “a new era of prosperity, cooperation and peace ”.

“Political virus”

In an also pre-recorded speech, Chinese President Xi Jinping stressed that “China does not intend to enter a Cold War”. Without citing Washington, he warned against “the trap of a clash of civilizations”, calling not to “politicize” the fight against the coronavirus.

Its ambassador to the UN Zhang Jun then took it upon himself to “reject” harshly the “unfounded accusations” of Donald Trump.

“At a time when the international community is fighting really hard against COVID-19, the United States is spreading a political virus here in the General Assembly,” he told media. “If anyone is to be held responsible, it is the United States for having lost so many lives with their irresponsible attitude”, he added, as the death toll reached 200,000 on Tuesday. in this country.

The remote confrontation continued on climatic terrain.

Xi Jinping wanted to play the good students, by setting for the first time a goal of carbon neutrality (in 2060) for his country, the first emitter of greenhouse gases on the planet.

Known for his climate skepticism, Donald Trump criticized “those who attack America's exceptional environmental record while turning a blind eye to China's endemic pollution”.

Beijing's scathing response: The United States is a “serious obstacle” to the fight against global warming, blasted Wang Wenbin, a spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry.

By withdrawing from international agreements aimed at reducing carbon emissions, the United States has failed in “its duty” and “refuses to take minimum measures to protect the planet”, regretted the spokesperson.

On Twitter, the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, welcomed Beijing's climate announcement, but warned that there was “a lot of work to do”.

“New Cold War”

Faced with international electrical relations, the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres had launched at the beginning of the meeting a worried warning against a “great divide” between the “two largest economies”.

The world must do everything “to avoid a new Cold War”, he insisted, among the only ones to speak from the podium of a sparse hemicycle at the UN headquarters in New York.

The world “cannot be reduced to the rivalry between China and the United States”, echoed French President Emmanuel Macron. “We are not collectively condemned to a pas de deux which, in a way, would reduce us to being nothing but the sorry spectators of a collective impotence”, he wanted to believe.

On the first day of the General Assembly, which is to last a week with interventions from 193 countries, several of them deplored the persistent “unilateralism” of Donald Trump, who appeared more isolated than ever in recent days by proclaiming the return of UN anti-Iran sanctions.

France and its European allies will “not compromise” on their refusal to support Washington in this area, warned Emmanuel Macron, while his Iranian counterpart Hassan Rohani predicted that the winner of the American presidential election would have “no no choice but to give in ”to Tehran, which demands the lifting of American sanctions.

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