The United Nations must stand up to Russian aggression and not “appease an aggressor,” President Biden told the U.N. General Assembly on Tuesday.
Russia: In his address in New York yesterday, the president took a strong stand on Ukraine, saying:
- “If we abandon the core principles of the [U.N. Charter] to appease an aggressor, can any member state in this body feel confident that they are protected? If we allow Ukraine to be carved up, is the independence of any nation secure? I’d respectfully suggest the answer is no.”
China: On China, Biden struck a more moderate tone—but also emphasized that the U.S. will not tolerate belligerence in that relationship, either.
- “. . . I want to be clear and consistent,” he said. “We seek to responsibly manage the competition between our countries so it does not tip into conflict. I’ve said, ‘We are for de-risking, not decoupling with China.’”
- “We will push back on aggression and intimidation and defend the rules of the road, from freedom of navigation to overflight to a level economic playing field that have helped safeguard security and prosperity for decades,” he continued.
- Neither Russian nor Chinese leaders are attending this week’s General Assembly meetings.
Zelensky makes an appeal: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky—who is set to meet with Biden in Washington later this week, according to The Wall Street Journal (subscription)—echoed Biden’s sentiments on Ukraine in his own speech.
- “This is a real chance for every nation to ensure that aggression against your state—if it happens, God forbid—will end,” he said. “Ukraine is doing everything to ensure that after Russian aggression, no one in the world will dare to attack any nation.”
An upcoming meeting? “U.S. officials had hoped that Biden and his Chinese counterpart, Xi [Jingping], would have the opportunity to meet on the sidelines of this year’s General Assembly amid tensions over a range of national-security and economic issues,” the Journal reports.
- Now “officials from both countries suggested that the opportunity for a meeting could arise at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in San Francisco this November.”