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The United Nations General Assembly opens Tuesday in New York in an unusually quiet hall as the annual global diplomatic meet goes online amid the Covid-19 pandemic. World leaders have been invited to provide pre-recorded messages for the gathering, where delegations will be represented in person by a lone diplomat.

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US President Donald Trump told reporters that he would be delivering a "strong message" to China in his speech at the virtual summit.

Chinese President Xi Jinping is also slated to address the UN General Assembly on Tuesday, as are Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Russia's Vladimir Putin, Iran's Hassan Rouhani and France's Emmanuel Macron.

To watch FRANCE 24's live coverage of the event, click on the video player above.

  • Guterres warns against 'new Cold War'

Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned that the world is facing an “epochal” health crisis, the biggest economic calamity since the Great Depression and worries of a new Cold War between the US and China.

In his grim state of the world speech, the UN chief called for global unity, first and foremost to fight the coronavirus pandemic, and sharply criticised populism and nationalism for failing to contain the virus, and for often making things worse.

Guterres: 'Covid-19 has layed bare the world's fragilities'

Guterres called for a global cease-fire on March 23 to tackle the pandemic, and he appealed for a 100-day push by the international community, led by the Security Council, “to make this a reality by the end of the year".

“There is only one winner of conflict during a pandemic: the virus itself,” he stressed, reiterating a warning he made to world leaders a year ago about increasing US-China rivalry.

“Our world cannot afford a future where the two largest economies split the globe in a Great Fracture — each with its own trade and financial rules and internet and artificial intelligence capacities,” Guterres said. “We must do everything to avoid a new Cold War.”

  • Trump: 'UN must hold China accountable'

US President Donald Trump told the UN General Assembly that China must be held accountable by the world for its actions over the Covid-19 pandemic.

In a recorded message, Trump accused Beijing of allowing the coronavirus to "leave China and infect the world."

Trump: 'We must hold accountable the nation that unleashed this plague'

"The United Nations must hold China accountable for their actions," he said.

Shortly after Trump's video address, Chinese President Xi Jinping said Beijing has "no intention to fight either a cold war or a hot one with any country".

China's Xi warns against 'politicising' coronavirus fight

"We will continue to narrow differences and resolve disputes with others through dialogue and negotiation," Xi said in his pre-recorded statement. "We will not seek to develop only ourselves or engage in zero sum game."

  • Bolsonaro defends handling of world's second deadliest Covid-19 outbreak

Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro rejected international criticism of his government's environmental policies in his pre-recorded speech, claiming his government was the victim of a "brutal campaign of misinformation".

Environmental advocates blame Bolsonaro for emboldening illegal ranchers and land speculators who set fire to land to increase its value for agricultural use.

The Brazilian president, wRead More – Source