US’ political manipulation of UN sounds alarm for multilateral world

By Mao Ruipeng Source: Global Times Published: 2020/9/14 21:33:41

Illustration: Liu Rui/GT

Just at a time when the international community is striving to coordinate the efforts of all parties to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic through the United Nations (UN) and its related agencies, and is committed to restoring the severely damaged 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the US is still narrowly focusing on seeking to dominate the UN. It is even using the UN system to attack countries it regards as "rivals."

This can be seen from the remarks made by Kelly Craft, the US ambassador to the UN, on Thursday. In a video conversation with US Republican Senator Marsha Blackburn, Craft regarded the UN system, especially the UN Secretariat, as the battlefield that the US aspires to win. 

She said that in order to neutralize China's influence in the UN, it is necessary to ensure that more Americans and like-minded countries enter the UN system, and the insufficient number of Americans in the UN Secretariat is "unbalanced." She indicated that she would take every opportunity to attack China within the UN Security Council no matter what issues are involved.

Craft's remarks show that the US government regards the UN as a political private instrument serving its own narrow national interests. Once again, this reflects the US President Donald Trump administration's negative position on international organizations and multilateralism. 

In this regard, China should consider three aspects: How should the UN reform? What is the impact of US' destructive actions on the UN? What kind of relationship should China and the US establish within the UN?

First, the UN belongs to the peoples of the world. It is not US' private "tool." This year of 2020 marks the 75th anniversary of the founding of the UN. Under the coordination and leadership of the UN, the international community has made unprecedented progress in terms of peace, development and human rights. For this reason, all countries in the world should cherish and safeguard their rights to participate in the construction of the UN.

Craft took up cudgels calling for the correction in the "imbalance" in the number of Americans and its "like-minded countries" in the UN. This implies that China and other developing countries have too many staff in the UN. However, what needs to be made clear is whether the number of staff in the UN is too large or too small for developing countries, including China.

As of December 31, 2019, China's personnel in the UN system accounted for only 1.17 percent, which is not only much lower than the 4.79 percent of the US, but it is also far lower than the average level of 2.60 percent of the G7 countries, according to data released by the UN System Chief Executives Board for Coordination.

Second, the Trump administration stands opposite to other countries in the world and is the biggest destroyer of multilateralism. Today's world is facing increasingly serious global challenges, such as climate change, food security and serious infectious diseases. These urgently need joint efforts of the international community. 

The Trump administration is pursuing a narrow view of interests, and adopting a unilateralist policy of "cherry-picking international laws and agreements that serve US interests." Since 2017, the US has terminated or substantially reduced its funding to organizations under the UN. Not to mention that it has withdrawn from a number of multilateral institutions and agreements. In addition, the US has obstructed the appointment of new Appellate Body members of the World Trade Organization, causing an impasse over the process.

Third, the wanton defamation and suppression against China by the Trump administration has seriously worsened the political atmosphere of the UN. Both China and the US are permanent members of the UN Security Council. Maintaining healthy and stable China-US relations is of great significance for the UN to play its role. However, in recent years, the Trump administration has repeatedly played up the strategic competition among big powers, and has taken multilateralism as one target in its campaign to contain China and other emerging countries. 

The UN is not a private political instrument of the US. The US government cannot ignore the international community's expectation and pursuit of world peace and stability. On the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the founding of the UN, the international community should unite and take a clear stand against the unilateralism and power politics of the US and jointly safeguard the multilateral international order.

The author is associate research fellow at the Shanghai Institutes for International Studies. [email protected]

Posted in: VIEWPOINT

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