President Biden addresses the 76th Session of the U.N. General Assembly in New York, September 21, 2021. (Eduardo Munoz/Reuters)

President Biden insisted that the U.S. is not seeking a “new cold war” in a period of rising competition with China, in his address to the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday.

“The United States will compete—and will compete vigorously. And lead with our values and our strength,” Biden said. “We’ll stand up for our allies and our friends, and oppose attempts by stronger countries to dominate weaker ones.”

Biden added, “But we’re not seeking—say it again, we are not seeking a new Cold War or a world divided into rigid blocs.”

“The United States will compete – and will compete vigorously. And lead with our values and our strength. We’ll stand up for our allies and our friends, and oppose attempts by stronger countries to dominate weaker ones…But we are not seeking a new Cold War or a world divided.” pic.twitter.com/O2NWWuv9EW

— Andrew Bates (@AndrewJBates46) September 21, 2021

Biden’s speech comes after the U.S., U.K., and Australia announced a new defense partnership that will see the U.S. help Australia to build nuclear-powered submarines. China Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian slammed the deal shortly after it was announced.

“Relevant countries should abandon the outdated Cold War zero-sum mentality and narrow-minded geopolitical perception,” Zhao told reporters last week. “Otherwise, they will only end up shooting themselves in the foot.”

France foreign minister Jean-Yves Le Drian called the submarine deal “a stab in the back,” after Australia canceled a deal to buy French non-nuclear powered submarines. France recalled its ambassador from Washington to protest the deal.

“This brutal, unilateral and unpredictable decision reminds me a lot of what Mr. Trump used to do,” Le Drian told Franceinfo radio last week in comments translated by Reuters.

Speaking at the U.N., Biden sought to reassure the European Union that it would continue to work closely with the bloc.

“I prioritize rebuilding our alliances and partnerships,” Biden said “We renewed our engagement with the European Union, a fundamental partner in tackling a range of significant issues facing our world today.”

Biden also touted the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, saying the end of the war in that country would open a new period of American diplomacy.

“We’ve ended 20 years of conflict in Afghanistan,” Biden said. “And as we close this period of relentless war, we’re opening a new era of relentless diplomacy.”

“We’ve ended 20 years of conflict in Afghanistan,” Pres. Biden tells UN General Assembly.

“And as we close this period of relentless war, we’re opening a new era of relentless diplomacy.” pic.twitter.com/hyvonFSnSo

— CBS News (@CBSNews) September 21, 2021

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