While he took an unrelenting stance against Russia’s brutal war and warned against appeasing Moscow, he drew a more measured line on China, repeating his commitment to “push back on aggression and intimidation” by Beijing while seeking ways to work together and denying that he was trying to contain the Asian giant. “We seek to responsibly manage the competition between our countries so it does not tip into conflict,” he said.
Mr. Biden mentioned a litany of other major issues confronting the world today, like fentanyl abuse, artificial intelligence, terrorism, human rights, women’s rights, L.G.B.T. rights and arms control, without breaking much new ground on any of them. He stressed the dangers of climate change as he urged more action to combat it, citing heat waves, wildfires, drought and the flooding in Libya.
“Together, these snapshots tell an urgent story of what awaits us if we fail to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and begin to climate-proof the world,” he said. Under his administration, he said, “the United States has treated this crisis as the existential threat from the moment we took office, not only for us, but for all of humanity.”
Mr. Biden will be using his time at the United Nations this week to meet with other world leaders. He met Tuesday afternoon with the leaders of the five Central Asian republics that used to be part of the Soviet Union — Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan — the first time a president has sat down collectively with counterparts with those countries.
The “Stans,” as they are often called by diplomats, have been a key area of competition between Russia and China in the years since they gained their independence from the Soviet collapse, but the United States has sought influence there as well, particularly during its ill-fated war in Afghanistan. Mr. Biden’s meeting with their leaders is in keeping with his strategy of bolstering relations with nations in China’s neighborhood to counter assertive actions by Beijing.
Michael D. Shear and Peter Baker