Trade rift between US and China would undermine world’s capacity to deal with challenges, says UN Chief

ASEAN Summit: At a news conference on Saturday in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, UN chief Antonio Guterres said that the world economy cannot afford to be divided into two opposing camps.

“As I told yesterday’s summit meeting, we must avoid at all costs the division of the global economy into two parts, led by the two biggest economies – the United States and China,” the UN Secretary-General said during a presser at the Cambodian capital.

“Such a rift, with two different sets of rules, two dominant currencies, two internets, and two conflicting strategies on artificial intelligence, would undermine the world’s capacity to respond to the dramatic challenges we face,” he added.

Guterres said ASEAN countries are well placed to bridge this divide, stressing that “we must have one global economy and global market with access for all.”

The UN chief also provided an update on some of the summit’s topics, including the situation in Myanmar, which he called “a never-ending horror for the people of that country and a threat to peace and security throughout the region.”

“At ASEAN, I condemned the appalling human rights situation in Myanmar and repeated calls on the country’s authorities to release all political prisoners and launch an inclusive process to return to democratic transition. I also urged countries to develop a regional framework to protect refugees,” he tweeted.

Since February 2021, when the military overthrew the government, Myanmar has been experiencing a political, human rights, and humanitarian crisis.

The head of the UN claimed that ASEAN’s Five-Point Consensus represents a principled approach to the problem. The day-long meeting also covered the Ukrainian conflict, the world’s energy and food crises, and the climate emergency, according to UN News.

“In these turbulent times, regional organizations including ASEAN are essential to building global solutions,” Guterres told reporters.

The COP27 UN climate change summit is currently taking place in Egypt, from whence the Secretary-General is currently in Cambodia.

In order to pool resources and strengthen capacities to combat climate change, Guterres is urging established and emerging economies to sign a Climate Solidarity Pact.

Additionally, he is asking for leaders to agree on a financial support system for nations that experience loss and damage as a result of climate-related calamities.

The next stop on the UN chief’s journey will be Bali, Indonesia, where the G20 summit of the world’s biggest economies will take place and start on Tuesday.

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