The global economy cannot afford to be split into two opposing camps, UN chief Antonio Guterres said at a press conference in Phnom Penh, Cambodia on Saturday.
“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 reported on some of the issues discussed at the summit, including the situation in Myanmar which he described as “an unending nightmare for the people of that country, and a threat to peace and security across 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.
Myanmar’s military seized power in February 2021 and since then, the country has been in the grip of a political, human rights and humanitarian crisis.
The UN chief said ASEAN has taken a principled approach to the issue through its Five-Point Consensus.
The war in Ukraine, the global energy and food crisis, and the climate emergency were also on the agenda at the day-long summit, UN News reported.
“In these turbulent times, regional organizations including ASEAN are essential to building global solutions,” Guterres told reporters.
The Secretary-General travelled to Cambodia from Egypt, where the COP27 UN climate change conference is underway.
Guterres is calling for a Climate Solidarity Pact for developed and emerging economies to combine resources and capacities to defeat climate change.
He is also pushing for leaders to reach an agreement on a financial mechanism to support countries that suffer loss and damage from climate-related disasters.
The UN chief will next travel to Bali, Indonesia, for the G20 summit of the world’s major economies, which begins on Tuesday.
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