United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned that the U.S. and China could be headed towards a new Cold War in an interview with The Associated Press published Monday.
“Unfortunately, today we only have confrontation,” Guterres told the AP, saying that the U.S. and China should instead be focusing on cooperating on issues like the environment, trade and technology.
“We need to re-establish a functional relationship between the two powers,” Guterres said, saying that it is “essential to address the problems of vaccination, the problems of climate change and many other global challenges that cannot be solved without constructive relations within the international community and mainly among the superpowers.”
The AP noted that Guterres has previously warned of the two major economic powers splitting the world in two with their competition, creating their own currencies, internets and financial rules.
“We need to avoid at all cost a Cold War that would be different from the past one, and probably more dangerous and more difficult to manage,” he said, referring to the decades-long period of heightened tension between the U.S. and the Soviet Union.
According to Guterres, the Cold War between the U.S. and the Soviet Union was less perilous than a potential one with China as it had a clear understanding of the risk of nuclear destruction and established rules “to guarantee that things would not get out of control."
“Now, today, everything is more fluid, and even the experience that existed in the past to manage crisis is no longer there,” Guterres said.
This warning from Guterres comes just shortly before the 76th session of the U.N. General Assembly is set to take place in New York. The session is scheduled to start Tuesday.