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UN chief warns against creation of ‘two competing worlds’ by US and China

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on June 11, 2018, at the United Nations in New York. (Li Muzi/Xinhua/Zuma Press/TNS)
September 25, 2019

This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has warned that the world risks splitting in two, with the United States and China “creating two separate and competing worlds.”

“We must do everything possible to avert the great fracture and maintain a universal system, a universal economy with universal respect for international law; a multipolar world with strong multilateral institutions,” Guterres said in his September 24 address to the annual UN General Assembly.

The UN chief also told world leaders that the planet was facing a climate crisis, spreading terrorism, “exploding” inequality, and “the alarming possibility” of a conflict in the Persian Gulf.

Describing a recent attack on oil facilities in Saudi Arabia as “unacceptable,” Guterres urged leaders to use “reason and restraint” in the Middle East.

Tensions have escalated in the region over the September 14 attack that Washington and its allies have blamed on Iran, which denies any involvement.

In his speech, U.S. President Donald Trump denounced Iran’s “bloodlust” and called on other nations to join the United States to act against Iran’s “menacing behavior.”

The United States “does not seek conflict with any other nation” and wants peace, Trump said, adding that he “will never fail to defend America’s interests.”

He also defended national sovereignty, saying that “the future must never belong to globalists.”

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called on the international community to help secure peace and safety in the northern Syrian province of Idlib, the last rebel stronghold, saying that establishing a “safe zone” in northern Syria would save millions of lives.

Turkey hosts more than 3 million Syrian refugees who have fled the eight-year civil war.