Biden vows a new era of 'relentless diplomacy' as the world contends with Covid, climate change and China

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Biden's debut address to the UN General Assembly comes as the U.S. strives to rebuild alliances and reclaim a global leadership position.
WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden defended his decision to end America's war in Afghanistan in his debut address to the United Nations on Tuesday, saying the move will allow the U.S. to pivot to other global challenges such as the Covid pandemic, climate change and an ambitious China. Biden's address to the 193-member body, his first since he took office in January, comes as he strives to rebuild alliances that crumbled under the reign of his predecessor and reclaim a global leadership position. He addressed a gathering of the 76th United Nations General Assembly that was scaled down because of the Covid-19 pandemic, with the majority of leaders delivering prerecorded remarks. "As the United States turns our focus to the priorities and the regions like the Indo-Pacific that are most consequential today and tomorrow we'll do so with our allies and partners through the cooperation of multilateral institutions like the United Nations to amplify our collective strength and speed," Biden said from the green speaker's rostrum.

U.S. President Joe Biden in a virtual press conference with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson (R) and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Sep. 15, 2021. The three leaders announced a new security partnership to strengthen stability in Indo-Pacific. Brendan Smialowski | AFP | Getty Images

"Instead of continuing to fight the wars of the past, we are fixing our eyes and devoting our resources to challenges that hold the keys to our collective future," the president said. That collective future is strained by a continuing pandemic, uncertainties of climate change, as well as rising tensions not only with China, but within the NATO alliance itself. Last week's decision by the U.K. and the U.S. to strike a military deal with Australia left France on the sidelines, creating a diplomatic row.

Still, Biden tried to strike a positive tone. "As we close this period of relentless war, we're opening a new era of relentless diplomacy," Biden said.…
Amanda Macias
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