Indonesian President Joko Widodo opened the G-20 summit in Bali on Tuesday with a call for unity, and said the group must not allow the world to “fall into another Cold War”. Widodo asked world leaders to follow the United Nations charter as he called for an end to “the war”, a reference to the Russia-Ukraine conflict.
“We have no other option, collaboration is needed to save the world… G-20 must be the catalyst for inclusive economic recovery. We should not divide the world into parts. We must not allow the world to fall into another Cold War,” Widodo was quoted as saying by Reuters.
Widodo’s opening remarks at the G-20 summit came a day after US President Joe Biden met his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping and said there was “absolutely” no need for another Cold War.
“I believe that there absolutely need not be another Cold War,” Biden said after meeting Xi, adding, “We’re going to compete vigorously. But I’m not looking for conflict, I’m looking to manage this competition responsibly.”
This was their first in-person meeting since Biden took over as President. In the three-hour meeting, the two leaders held talks on an array of issues including Taiwan and North Korea.
According to the Chinese state media, post the meeting, Xi said Taiwan was the “first red line” that must not be crossed in US-China relations.
Meanwhile, Biden during a press conference reiterated that the US’ policy on China had not changed. “We oppose unilateral changes in the status quo by either sides and are committed in retaining the peace and stability in Taiwan strait,” he said. “I don’t think there is any imminent attempt on the part of China to invade Taiwan,” he added.
Under its One China policy, US maintains formal ties with China rather than the island of Taiwan, recognising that there is only one Chinese government.
Biden said Secretary of State Antony Blinken would travel to China to follow up on discussions, and the two sides will set up a mechanism for more frequent communications.
On the issue of North Korea, Biden said he told Xi that they (China) had an obligation to attempt to make it clear to North Korea that they should not engage in long range nuclear tests.
“United States would do what it needs to do to defend itself and allies South Korea and Japan, which could be maybe more up in the face of China though not directed against it.” Biden said.
“We discussed Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, and affirmed our share belief in the threat where the use of nuclear weapons is totally unacceptable,” Biden added.
The Cold War was a period of intense rivalry between the US and USSR after the end of the Second World War. Primarily an ideological war between a capitalist US and communist Soviet, the Cold War saw the two superpowers in a deterrence relationship keen on expanding their areas of influence all over the world. It ended with the fall of Soviet Union in 1991.