Biden to stress U.S. does not seek new Cold War with China in first UN speech

President Biden will use his first address before the UN General Assembly to lay out his vision for an era of "intensive diplomacy" with allies and "vigorous competition" with great powers — without a Cold War with China.

Why it matters: Biden will take the podium in New York on Tuesday with his own international credibility in question after the chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan. His administration also is struggling to build international momentum to fight climate change, the pandemic and rising global authoritarianism.

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What they’re saying: Biden’s speech "will center on the proposition that we are closing the chapter on 20 years of war and opening a chapter of intensive diplomacy by rallying allies and partners and institutions to deal with the major challenges of our time," according to a senior administration official who previewed the remarks on Monday. The guiding theme will be that the most pressing problems that the world faces "can’t be solved by military force" and that the cooperation of many nations is paramount, added the official, who spoke with reporters on condition of anonymity.

Between the lines: While the evacuation from Kabul may allow the U.S. to increase its focus on China, its frenzied nature angered several NATO allies and provided a propaganda coup for Beijing. In his quest to rally a new coalition to confront China, the president has alienated some of America’s oldest allies, including France.

And the tensions with China are contributing to a sense that a new international climate agreement — a primary focus this week at the UN — is unlikely this year.

What to watch: Biden will meet Monday with UN Secretary-General António Guterres, who made headlines this morning when he urged the U.S. and China to repair their "completely dysfunctional" relationship for the sake of solving global challenges.

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