China and the United States dominated headlines this week at the United Nations General Assembly in New York. A prominent focus of discussion at the annual diplomacy gathering was the possible danger of a world divided in two, with China and the United States leading the way in increasing economic, cultural, and geopolitical divides. In his "state of the world" address, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres warned Member States of the risk of the two countries creating a deeply divided and anxious planet with a climate crisis. Despite the societal pressure and political will to push the climate change agenda forward, neither China nor the United States made any further promises or actions to mitigate the rising threat.
In his UNGA remarks, Donald Trump swore he would not accept a bad deal in the trade negotiations, yet he sounded optimistic about the prospect of reaching consensus with Beijing in the upcoming talks. China's top diplomat, Wang Yi, urged further cooperation between the two powers, yet struck back at Trump's messaging, saying China will not be threatened into a deal.
The United States also continued its criticism of China's human rights record, and led a 30-country denunciation of what it described as Beijing's "campaign of repression" against Muslims in Xinjiang. "History will judge the international community for how we respond to this attack on human rights and fundamental freedoms," said Secretary of State John Sullivan. While no representative from China was present at the panel, a Foreign Ministry spokesperson accused the US of "using religion and human rights as a cover to slander and smear China's Xinjiang policies and interfere in China's internal affairs again and again."
Prepared by China-US Focus editorial teams in Hong Kong and New York, this weekly newsletter offers you snap shots of latest trends and developments emerging from China every week, while adding a dose of historical perspective.