Tuesday, September 27, 2022

US monitors China’s influence on UN

NEW YORK – The US ambassador to the United Nations on Wednesday reassured Congress on Wednesday that she is monitoring and repairing what she calls China’s malignant influence ‘on the world body.

“China has been aggressive and compelling in its use of force at the United Nations,” Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield told the Foreign Affairs Committee.

She said Beijing promoted an ‘authoritarian approach to multilateralism’.

The ambassador pointed to a range of actions, including its impact on three UN technical organizations where their citizens are in charge, and Beijing’s use of COVID-19 vaccine diplomacy to put poorer countries under pressure.

“We will work hard against these efforts,” she said.

U.S. Ambassador to the United States Linda Thomas-Greenfield testifies to the Foreign Affairs Committee on the Biden Government’s priorities for engagement with the United Nations on Capitol Hill in Washington, June 16, 2021.

She urged lawmakers to invest in the United Nations to restore US influence there, which had waned during the Trump administration.

“Our opponents and competitors are investing in the United Nations. We can not expect to compete unless we do too,” Thomas-Greenfield said.

More than 40 lawmakers questioned the veteran diplomat for more than four hours during a hearing on the Biden administration’s priorities for involvement in the United Nations. Many have expressed concern about China’s persecution of minority Uyghur Muslims in the autonomous province of Xinjiang.

Human rights groups accuse China of sending more than a million Uyghurs to detention camps. According to China, the centers are ‘centers for vocational education’ intended to stop the spread of religious extremism and terrorist attacks.

U.S. Representative Michael McCaul asked Thomas-Greenfield if she agreed with the committee that the Chinese government was committing genocide and crimes on the Uyghurs.

FILE – A perimeter fence was built around a vocational education education center in Dabancheng in Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, China, September 4, 2018.

“Yes, there is genocide against Uyghurs in Xinjiang,” she said. “And the PRC government is committing crimes against humanity. We have called on the Chinese to do this.”

Lawmakers have also expressed concern about China’s swing over the World Health Organization, and some say Beijing’s influence has caused the WHO to fail in its duty to warn the world about the severity of the coronavirus pandemic.

Thomas-Greenfield made it clear that the Biden government supported a ‘robust and transparent’ investigation into the origins of the pandemic. As for the WTO, she noted that he had appointed an independent committee chaired by former Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf and former New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark to review the WTO response.

“I am confident in their ability to achieve this, and I know they work hard,” she said. “Their reputation is tied to this, and we look forward to seeing the results.”

U.S. Representative Mark Green asked if Taiwan should join the United Nations. China has used its influence over the years to prevent its recognition.

“We support Taiwan,” she said. “We want to see Taiwan recognized for the extraordinary democracy it is.”

Thomas-Greenfield said the US was still pushing the UN for Taiwan’s participation in non-member state programs, such as the recent World Health Assembly. However, this attempt failed.

Thomas-Greenfield took up her post as UN ambassador and member of President Joe Biden’s cabinet in February. The placement marks the culmination of a wide-ranging 35-year career in the State Department.


Nation World News Desk
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