April 23, 2024

(Bloomberg) — Top US cabinet officials insisted Monday that they’re seeking to keep lines of communication open with China, a message in line with White House efforts to arrange a meeting between the two countries’ leader later this year.

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“The world expects us to responsibly manage our relationship,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken told Chinese Vice President Han Zheng in New York before the start of UN General Assembly. “We seek a healthy economic relationship” with China, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said at a separate event. “It may be a competitive relationship but it’s also in many areas a win-win relationship.”

Read more: Blinken Meets China VP on Sidelines of UN Assembly in New York

China’s Xi Jinping has stood by Russia’s Vladimir Putin despite his invasion of Ukraine more than a year ago, and the war is expected to be a key topic during this week’s events. Han was slightly more frank, saying the two sides both need “to display more sincerity, more efforts and meet each other halfway.”

Click here for the full schedule of speakers.

Essential reading:

  • The UN is struggling to meet the moment amid a series of crises. Bloomberg’s Iain Marlow breaks down the problem. Read World Disappointed by the UN Now Looks Elsewhere for Answers. And watch here.

  • Bloomberg geoeconomist Jennifer Welch breaks down China’s effort to exert more influence at the UN

  • New York City is warning commuters about the massive traffic that’s already piling up as leaders gather in Midtown. Check the latest here

(All times are NY)

Erdogan Says Team Is “Successfully Containing Inflation” (11:35 pm)

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told a group of government and business leaders in New York ahead of the star of the UN General Assembly that “global inflation threatened all nations” but that Turkey’s economy team has “engaged in intense work” and it’s “successfully maintaining the process of containing inflation by the end of this year, or the beginning of next year.”

On Tuesday, Turkey’s finance minister will convey a similar message to investors. Mehmet Simsek will speak at a conference co-hosted by Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and the Turkey-US Business Council, in an attempt to lure much needed investment for his nation’s troubled economy, battling price gains running at nearly 60% The country’s central bank meet on Thursday, with most analysts surveyed by Bloomberg seeing policy marker raising the key rate to 30% from 25%.

Lula, Zelenskiy to Meet on UN Sidelines After Tensions (3:04 p.m.)

Presidents Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva of Brazil and Volodymyr Zelenskiy of Ukraine will hold their first in-person meeting this week in New York in an attempt to bridge differences over Russia’s invasion and how to end it.

The long-awaited encounter will be on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly and comes as the US and other allies have sought to rally nations from the so-called Global South, including Brazil, that have remained skeptical of their efforts to ramp up pressure on Russia.

Germany Urges Focus on Russia’s ‘Criminal’ War (2:35 p.m.)

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz issued a warning to the world ahead of the UN General Assembly, calling the Ukraine war one of the biggest challenges to the post World War II order.

“This week will always be about what the Russian president has done with his criminal war of aggression against Ukraine,” Scholz told reporters shortly before a speech about UN efforts on a series of ambitions known as the Sustainable Development Goals. “We will also insist very concretely that the world community feels committed to its principles.”

Blinken: Iran’s Nuclear Program ‘No. 1’ concern (1:46 p.m.)

Secretary of State Antony Blinken left open the door to diplomacy over Iran’s nuclear program, saying that the country’s ambitions were a top priority for President Joe Biden.

“When it comes to perhaps the number one issue of concern, which is Iran’s nuclear program, we continue to believe that diplomacy is the best way to get a sustainable, effective result,” Blinken told reporters Monday.

He and other US officials played down the possibility of a major breakthrough on Iran during this week’s UN meetings. Iran President Ebrahim Raisi was set to be in New York but US officials said there would be no direct encounters with Biden.

US Preps Cuba Support Measures (12:05 p.m.)

The US is set to ease restrictions on Cuba so small businesses can get more US financial support even as it keeps a punishing economic embargo in place.

The US is set to unveil regulatory changes aimed at bolstering the entrepreneurial sector on the communist-run island as soon as this week, according to a person familiar with the matter, who spoke on condition they not be named ahead of the announcement.

The move comes as the US is looking to woo countries from the so-called Global South such as Brazil that have decried its embargo on Cuba.

NYC Climate Protests Draw Thousands (Sunday)

Tens of thousands of protesters took to New York City streets on Sunday to call for an end to the use of fossil fuels ahead of the annual United Nations General Assembly, and they urged President Joe Biden to do more to fight climate change.

The demonstrations drew figures including New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and actor Susan Sarandon, according to footage posted by organizers on social media. Signs carried by protesters included messages such as “Youth vs. fossil fuels, Biden pick a side,” according to photos posted on social media platform X.

–With assistance from Michael Nienaber, Ana Monteiro and Daniel Carvalho.

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