What happened on Wednesday at the United Nations General Assembly

In his address to the United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday, President Biden criticized the governments of Iran and China for their human rights records, while vowing that the United States would always stand up for those rights.

Referring to the protests that erupted in Iran over the death in custody whsa amini, Mr. Biden, a 22-year-old woman who was arrested by the country’s morality police last week for a dress code violation, said the United States stood with “the brave citizens of Iran, who are now demonstrating to secure basic rights.”

With talks stalling over restoring the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, which President Donald J. Trump abandoned, Biden tacitly threatened to use force if necessary to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons, but said he wanted to prevent conflict.

“We will not allow Iran to have a nuclear weapon,” Biden said, adding, “I continue to believe that diplomacy is the best way to achieve that outcome.”

Earlier on Wednesday, Iran’s president, Ebrahim Raisi, made his first appearance before the General Assembly, speaking in defiant terms that offered little hope of a new diplomatic breakthrough.

He criticized Israel as a “brutal occupying power”. Upload a picture of the former commander of the powerful Iranian Revolutionary Guard, Major General Qassem Soleimani, who was assassinated by the United States in Iraq. Referring to the nuclear deal, he said Iran wanted to get what was “fair and equitable” for itself.

The Biden administration sees Iran as its biggest challenge in the Middle East, but Mr. Biden has indicated he hopes to spend fewer diplomatic and military resources in the region in order to focus on China and Russia.

Mr. Biden mentioned China several times in his speech, when he first said that countries should respect “freedom of navigation”. US officials use the phrase to frame the threat posed by Chinese military activities in the Asia-Pacific region. US officials have expressed alarm about China’s expanding military presence in the South and East China Seas, the activities of the Chinese Navy and Air Force around Taiwan and China’s growing security presence in the Pacific.

China’s People’s Liberation Army fired missiles into Taiwan last month after US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited the autonomous island, which China claims it belongs to. Several missiles fell into the waters near Japan. China’s navy also conducted exercises in nearby waters.

Biden insisted on Wednesday that the United States does not want to escalate its rivalry with China. “As we manage shifting geopolitical trends, the United States will act as a reasonable leader,” he said. We do not seek conflict. We are not seeking a cold war.”

He said the United States would not ask other countries to choose between them and a competitor, but emphasized that Washington “would not be shy about promoting” the free world’s vision.

Mr. Biden also said the US remains “adherent to the one-China policy,” which recognizes but does not endorse China’s position on Taiwan. But Mr. Biden told CBS’s “60 Minutes” program on Sunday that while Taiwan makes its “own judgments” on independence, US forces will defend Taiwan in the event of an “unprecedented attack” by China.

Seeking his criticism that Russia and China are undermining a world order based on widely agreed rules, Mr Biden has called for UN Charter reforms, including making the Security Council “more inclusive” by expanding its permanent membership, which is now made up of Britain and China France, Russia and the United States. US officials supported the idea of ​​adding Germany, India and Japan to the council.

Moscow and Beijing have often vetoed resolutions supported by the council’s other three permanent members and much of the international community. In his speech, Mr. Biden said that states should refrain from vetoing the Security Council “except in rare, exceptional cases to ensure that the Security Council remains credible and effective.”

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