Putin has ‘reckless disregard’ for nuclear non-proliferation: Biden tells UN

Published - September 22, 2022 12:33 am IST

U.S. President Joe Biden addressing the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly at the UN headquarters in New York City on September 21, 2022.

U.S. President Joe Biden addressing the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly at the UN headquarters in New York City on September 21, 2022. | Photo Credit: AFP

U.S. President Joe Biden, on Wednesday, called out Russian President Vladimir Putin, saying Mr. Putin’s nuclear threats against Europe were “reckless”, in a speech to the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA). Earlier in the day, Mr. Putin had called for the mobilisation of 3,00,000 potential combatants and suggested that Moscow could use nuclear weapons to defend its interests. “Again, just today, President Putin has made overt nuclear threats against Europe, in a reckless disregard for the responsibilities of the non-proliferation regime,” Mr. Biden said, in a speech in which he called on countries to stand up for the UN Charter.

The U.S. President also called for a “more inclusive” UN, reiterating the U.S. position that it supports the expansion of the UN Security Council, by increasing the number of permanent and non-permanent members.

“I also believe the time has come for this institution to become more inclusive, so it can better respond to the needs of today’s world,” Mr. Biden said, adding, “We have long supported permanent seats for countries in Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean.”

He talked about the climate crisis and food security, announcing a $2.9 billion food assistance package for this year.

“In every country in the world, no matter what else divides us, if parents cannot feed their children, nothing…nothing else matters,” he said, adding that U.S. sanctions on Russia did not target Russian exports of fertilizers and food.

On China, Mr. Biden said that in the context of shifting geopolitical trends, the U.S. would act as a “reasonable leader”.

“We do not seek conflict. We do not seek a Cold War. We do not ask any nation to choose between the United States or any other partner,” he said.

In an interview that was aired on Sunday, Mr. Biden had said the U.S. would “defend” Taiwan if the island was attacked, in a way that went beyond its assistance to Ukraine. These comments elicited a diplomatic response from Beijing. U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi also visited Taiwan in early August – resulting in Beijing conducting military exercises around the island.

At the UN on Wednesday, however, Mr. Biden said the U.S. was committed to its One China Policy, wanted “peace and stability” across the Taiwan Strait and opposed unilateral changes to the status quo by either China or Taiwan

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