China is working to assume control of multiple key United Nations agencies in order to subvert U.S. influence and advance its anti-democratic agenda, current and former senior Trump administration officials told the Washington Free Beacon.
China currently holds 4 of the top 15 leading positions within the organization, including a seat on the powerful Security Council. The country’s sway was on full display this year when it successfully pressured the World Health Organization (WHO) to hide information about the coronavirus pandemic.
The Communist Party is also using its influence at the U.N. to thwart investigations into its human rights record and other state-backed atrocities, including its coronavirus cover-up. China has blocked dissidents from petitioning the U.N. Human Rights Council and has even threatened retaliation against diplomats seeking an investigation of these abuses.
“China is constantly working behind the scenes to gain more influence globally,” Nikki Haley, the administration’s former ambassador to the U.N., told the Free Beacon. “That’s especially true at the U.N., whether it’s distracting from their own human rights abuses, manipulating to gain control of U.N. agencies, or bullying smaller countries to vote their way. For them perception is everything, and it’s why we can never stop being loud, calling them out, and bringing attention to their behavior.”
China’s ambition extends far beyond the WHO, Trump administration officials say. The White House is placing a greater emphasis on combating China’s manipulation of the U.N., which could entail withholding further funding to the body and sanctions on top Community Party figures. These efforts are likely to receive bipartisan backing in Congress, as both Republicans and Democrats seek to hold China accountable in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
Dan Blumenthal, director of Asian studies at the American Enterprise Institute, said the United States can pressure the U.N. by withholding its funding.
“We need a focused and intensive diplomatic campaign to replace Chinese and Russian-backed heads of international organization, with people who support the values of the free world,” he said.
The United States discussed new efforts to counter China’s influence at the U.N. in its Strategic Approach to China, a comprehensive document published earlier this month that outlines the White House’s response to Chinese hegemony. If China is permitted to exploit the U.N. unchecked, America risks losing its place at the center of global affairs, the document warns.