Guterres ‘very concerned’ about return of Cold War conditions

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United Nations, March 29 (IANS) UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said on Thursday that he is “very concerned” about the world returning to a Cold War situation and suggested reviving mechanisms that existed then to prevent escalation of tensions.

Asked by reporters about the rising tensions between the US and Russia and their mutual expulsion of diplomats, Guterres said, “I am very concerned.”

The world was coming to a situation similar to what prevailed during the Cold War, he said.

Guterres saw the situation now as more riskier because unlike then there are no mechanisms in place to prevent tensions rising and there are now several actors instead of just two superpowers.

During the Cold War, there were mechanisms to avoid escalation of tensions but they were dismantled after the Cold War ended because it was thought that were not longer needed, he said.

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Such mechanisms are important and it was necessary to revive them, he stressed.

While the US and the Soviet Union were the only superpowers during the Cold War, Russia is now a shadow of itself, China is a rising global power and the NATO alliance that stood behind US is starting to fray.

There have been signs of the arms race resuming, this time between the US and Russia.

Russian President Vladimir recently unveiled a new class of nuclear-tipped missiles that he said can avoid anti-missile defence systems and were capable of hitting targets in the US.

In February, the US released a strategic document, the Nuclear Posture Review, that laid out a course of expanding nuclear capabilities in response to Russian plans.

“Our strategy will ensure Russia understands that any use of nuclear weapons, however limited, is unacceptable,” it said.

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On a positive note, Guterres welcomed the proposed summit between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

He said that the developments showed that a solution to the nuclear crisis in the Korean Peninsula was now within reach, while only a few months ago it had not seemed possible.

He added that he was encouraged by the recent visit of Kim Jong Un to Beijing to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping.

China has a very important role to play in the region, he added.

(Arul Louis can be reached at [email protected])

–IANS

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