NYC Boss

NYC Boss

Top U.N. Official Sidesteps Chinese Influence Question

Top U.N. Official Sidesteps Chinese Influence Question

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres addresses the media during a joint news conference with German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas in Berlin, Germany, December 17, 2020. (Michael Sohn/Pool via Reuters)

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres hasn’t said much about the topic of authoritarian influence within the international organization he leads, and he seemed to sidestep a question about the Chinese Communist Party’s cooptation of multilateral institutions during an interview with Reuters today:

New U.S. President Joe Biden’s nominee for ambassador to the United Nations accused China on Wednesday of trying to “drive an authoritarian agenda” at the 193-member world body.

When asked for a response, Guterres said: “In relation to the United Nations I can guarantee that we are very strongly committed to make sure that the U.N. is a beacon of all the values are related to … security, development, human rights.”

Guterres, who acknowledged to Reuters that the U.S. and China have “completely different views” on human rights, has faced criticism from human-rights groups for his refusal to condemn the CCP’s genocide of Turkic minorities in Xinjiang, though he claims that he’s raised the issue with China’s diplomats. Nevertheless, none of his public statements amounts to anything nearing a clear denunciation of these acts.

These are critical questions, and although he might feel that coming out publicly against Beijing would limit his capacity to be an effective broker, it’s impossible to credibly lead an entity dedicated to the promotion of human rights while refusing to pointedly criticize the actions of a country that uses international institutions to whitewash its mass atrocities.

Guterres earlier this month announced that he’s seeking reelection to his post, and his record on China should factor into any U.S. decision about whether to support him.

Published at Fri, 29 Jan 2021 01:45:05 +0000