US Senators call for greater scrutiny of China’s influence at UN, international bodies

UN Secretary-General António Guterres pictured with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing, September 2018. Image: Andy Wong / Reuters

DHARAMSALA, 25 Sept; A new bill has been introduced by two US Senators at the ongoing 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York to investigate the Chinese regime’s influence in organization and other international bodies.

The legislation was introduced by US Senators Todd Young (R-Ind.) and Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), both members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Chairman and Ranking Member of the Multilateral Institutions Subcommittee respectively and it instructs the U.S. Director of National Intelligence to examine China’s activity at the United Nations and other international organizations, noted a press release on Senators Todd Young’s official web page.

The Young-Merkley legislation would require intelligence reports on Chinese objectives, tactics, and influence in international organizations, the statement said and pointed out that as China’s influence grows in international organizations, the risk grows that China will undermine rather than advance multilateral solutions to pressing global challenges, such as human rights abuses, nuclear proliferation, pandemic disease, global economic crises, and climate change.

World leaders have gathered in New York City for the 74th session of the UNGA to debate and address the assembly from 24-30 September and Senator Young has said described the UN General Assembly as a chance for the United States to reassert its strong commitment to multilateral engagement.

“China is taking an aggressive stance at the UN to seize as much authority as others will allow. We must protect our interests while ensuring China is acting for the benefit of the UN and all of its members. We need the intelligence community to take a close look at these concerns and make sure we know where we stand. We can’t be asleep at the wheel as the host country and largest donor to the United Nations,” Senator Young has said.

Senator Merkley meanwhile has described the bill a critical measure to keep tabs on China’s activity at the United Nations and other international organizations, to ensure that China’s rise does not undermine the ability of international organizations to protect human rights and facilitate global partnerships.

“Between eroding Hong Kong’s autonomy and horrifically violating the human rights of millions of Uyghurs in Xinjiang, the global community has well-founded doubts regarding China’s willingness to defend human rights standards in international organizations,” Senator Merkley has said.

The Foreign Affairs have described the annual UNGA in September a centrepiece of US global leadership. But the US under the Trump administration has let go of the wheel, and Beijing stands poised to take hold of it.

The report stated that with China seeking to steer the United Nations away from its founding principles, however, the United States can’t afford to sit back.

According to a recent report by Washington-based think tank The Heritage Foundation, the Chinese regime’s presence has increased in the UN system as it rose into a global political and economic power over the last two decades.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), has recently urged the US to stop the Chinese regime’s plans to install Andy Tsang Wai-hung, a former Hong Kong police chief and a communist hardliner from leading the UN Office on Drugs and Crime.

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