COVID-19: Trump attacks China at UN, facing specter of “new cold war”

COVID-19: Trump attacks China at UN, facing specter of

UNITED NATIONS | The UN General Assembly opened Tuesday with a warning from the UN chief against a “new cold war” which threatens the planet in the midst of a pandemic, immediately followed by a virulent attack by Donald Trump against the China.

“The United Nations must hold China responsible for its actions” at the onset of COVID-19 and for having “unleashed this plague across the world,” said the President of the United States about COVID-19, among the first to intervene in a video recorded on the occasion of this annual high mass organized virtually because of the health crisis.

Once again calling the coronavirus a “Chinese virus”, a formula which arouses the ire of Beijing, he accused the Chinese authorities of having, at the start of the epidemic, authorized “planes to leave China and infect the world ”.

“The Chinese government and the World Health Organization, which is almost controlled by China, have wrongly declared that there is no evidence of human transmission” of the virus, he further deplored since the White House, thus justifying the withdrawal of the United States from this UN agency.

“Great fracture”

The Republican billionaire, whose management of COVID-19 is highly contested and seems to be hampering his chances of re-election to the presidential election on November 3, has promised to “distribute a vaccine”, “defeat the virus”, and “end the pandemic “To enter” into a new and unprecedented era of prosperity, cooperation and peace. ”

He also praised his talents as a “peacemaker”, a week after the signing at the White House of historic agreements between Israel and two Gulf Arab countries, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain.

Donald Trump has continued his anti-China offensive on the environmental and commercial front.

Chinese President Xi Jinping was to answer him shortly after, still no pre-recorded video interposed.

But, without delay, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres warned against a “great divide” between the “two largest economies,” “each with its own trade and financial rules, its internet, its artificial intelligence capabilities ”.

Faced with the COVID-19 pandemic, “the world needs a global ceasefire to stop all '' hot '' conflicts, doing everything to avoid a new Cold War,” he said. hammered, at the podium of an almost deserted hemicycle in the UN headquarters in New York.

“This is a very dangerous direction,” he warned, denouncing the growing Sino-American rivalry.

It is an unprecedented General Assembly that opens.

Almost empty building

The building is almost empty, no leader has made the trip. All were dissuaded from coming because of the disease by the American authorities. Rather than postpone this annual diplomatic high mass, the organizers have chosen the virtual mode, with recorded videos.

For a time, the coming of Donald Trump was abandoned.

It “lacks emotion,” sighs Richard Gowan of the Crisis Group think tank. And several diplomats go on in unison: without bilateral, without “diplomacy under the table”, how to find solutions, compromises on the conflicts which shake the planet, improve relations between countries?

On the UN website, the speeches of the 193 members will be linked for a week, featuring the leaders of the planet: the Chinese Xi Jinping in front of a mural of the Great Wall, others in presidential parks or palaces, while some will favor the sobriety brightened up by the flag of their country.

The hallways are deserted and journalists are rare, a stark contrast to previous years which saw more than 10,000 people (presidents, heads of government, ministers and other diplomats) converge on this district of Manhattan transformed into a bunker by the police.

Fearing the technical incident, the Organization asked to receive the videos of the speeches four days before their broadcast, prohibiting any spontaneity or reactivity to the news.

In 1945, the United Nations was created so that the world would never again experience global conflict. A third world war did not happen, but the Covid-19 pandemic, caused by an invisible virus, has brought the planet to its knees with nearly a million deaths since the end of December and a devastating economic and social impact.

Faced with the crisis and countries more inclined to unilateral decisions than to favor multilateralism, the UN has “missed the appointment” for its 75th anniversary, noted many experts, and its General Assembly this year is. illustration.

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