Biden to Tell UN That U.S. and China Must Cooperate on Climate and Covid
(Bloomberg) -- President Joe Biden plans to make the case for the U.S. and China to cooperate on global threats including climate change in a speech to the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday, while insisting the countries are not headed for a new Cold War.
Biden’s first address to the annual UN summit follows the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan that drew criticism even from his supporters and allies and a submarine deal with Australia that outraged France. But in his speech, Biden will reiterate pledges he made during his campaign to renew U.S. engagement with international institutions and to improve the nation’s standing in the world, according to a senior administration official.
He’ll also mark the end of 20 years of war in Afghanistan and declare a new era of diplomacy to resolve international conflict, the official said in a briefing on condition of anonymity.
The challenges the world faces require the cooperation of many nations as well as international institutions and other non-state actors, the president will say in his speech. Despite rising tensions between the U.S. and China, Biden will communicate that he doesn’t believe in the notion of a new Cold War between the two countries and their respective allies, and instead hopes to find ways to work with Beijing on key issues, including climate change and Covid-19, the official said.
Biden spoke with Chinese President Xi Jinping by phone earlier this month and suggested an in-person meeting, but Xi -- who has not left his country in more than 600 days amid the pandemic -- declined to commit to one. Biden later said it wasn’t true that Xi refused to meet with him.
Biden will also speak to how the U.S. plans to deliver on a UN pledge for wealthy countries to spend $100 billion annually to tackle climate change, the official said.
The White House announced Monday that the U.S. will soon reopen air travel to most foreign passengers as long as they’re fully vaccinated against Covid-19. Biden will also convene a virtual summit on Wednesday aimed at boosting vaccine distribution abroad and preparing for future public health crises.
Presidential trips to the General Assembly often include several one-on-one meetings with other leaders over a few days, but Biden will have a limited agenda during his brief visit to New York.
He’s scheduled to meet with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Monday night and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Tuesday before returning to the White House to host British Prime Minister Boris Johnson. On Friday, he’s set to hold one-on-one meetings at the White House with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, and host them, along with Morrison, for the first-ever summit of what’s known as the “Quad” nations.
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