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China and Russia ambush Blinken at UN Security Council

Washington Examiner logo Washington Examiner 5/7/2021 Joel Gehrke
Vladimir Putin, Xi Jinping are posing for a picture © Provided by Washington Examiner

Secretary of State Antony Blinken was lectured by China and Russia at a United Nations Security Council meeting that saw the authoritarian powers attempt to invalidate Western diplomatic initiatives and the U.S. alliance network.

“I’m sure that all countries would be glad to see the United States changing course and make a real contribution to practicing multilateralism,” Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said on Friday, moments after Blinken concluded his remarks.

That taunt was one among many compliments and rebukes that the Chinese envoy doled out during the meeting, capitalizing on his control of the microphone as this month’s president of the Security Council.

China convened the meeting as a discussion on multilateralism, an umbrella term for cooperation between countries within international institutions, but Wang used it to trumpet the Chinese regime in opposition to Western systems and support for human rights.

“The U.N. needs to keep pace with the times,” the Chinese foreign minister said through an interpreter. “This year marks the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China. … This year also marks the 50th anniversary of the restoration of the lawful seat of the People's Republic of China. These five decades have witnessed China's active practice of multilateralism, its full participation and support for the cause of the U.N., and its continuous contributions to world peace and development.”

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Blinken denounced Chinese hypocrisy, although, like Wang, he avoided mentioning the target nations by name.

“A foundational unit of the United Nations, from the first sentence of the charter, is not just the nation-state — it’s also the human being,” Blinken said. “Some argue that what governments do within their own borders is their own business. … Asserting domestic jurisdiction doesn’t give any state a blank check to enslave, torture, disappear, ethnically cleanse their people, or violate their human rights in any other way.”

Blinken was implicitly referring to Chinese Communist atrocities against the Uyghur Muslims. He also reversed Russian and Chinese allegations that the U.S. plays a domineering part in world affairs by condemning implicitly their own efforts to seize territory that does not belong to them and conduct disinformation campaigns against neighboring states.

“The United Nations is based on the principle of the sovereign equality of its member states,” he said. “A state does not respect that principle when it purports to redraw the borders of another, or seeks to resolve territorial disputes by using or threatening force, or when a state claims it’s entitled to a sphere of influence to dictate or coerce the choices and decisions of another country.”

That statement could apply to Russian aggression against Ukraine or Chinese attempts to claim sovereignty over most of the South China Sea.

Wang started the meeting by implying that the U.S. seeks “supremacy” and fails to show respect for the “unique history and culture” of different countries — a standard line for Chinese officials, who argue that their communist regime is uniquely appropriate to the Chinese people.

“Splitting the world along the ideological line conflicts with a spirit of multilateralism and is a regression in history,” he said.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov amplified the Chinese position with more explicit attacks on the U.S.

“Leading Western countries are now trying to roll back the process of establishing a multipolar, polycentric world and trying to restrain the course of history,” Lavrov said, before complaining about the “alliance of democracies” that President Joe Biden intends to host. “The American administration is calling for creating a new special interests club on an openly ideologized basis, [which] could further exacerbate international tension and draw dividing lines in the world.”

Both Wang and Lavrov insisted that sanctions imposed by the U.S. and allies are illegitimate unless they have the approval of the U.N. Security Council — a forum in which China and Russia have veto power, but a British diplomat dismissed their complaints when the United Kingdom held the floor.

“They hold accountable those responsible for a range of activities, including human rights violations, abuses, and, indeed, corruption,” Lord Tariq Ahmad of Wimbledon, who works under British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab on U.N. issues, told the council.

British officials coordinated with the U.S., the European Union, and Canada in March to impose sanctions on several Chinese Communist officials involved in the repression of the Uyghurs. Ahmad did not mention that controversy but maintained that such measures are “a force for good in the world” when the Security Council deadlocks over a crisis such as the Syrian civil war — ending the round of national speeches on a sour note for Beijing.

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“The important common understanding between all countries today is that we want solidarity, not division — we want cooperation, not willful sanctions,” Wang replied. “We also hope that the U.K. will also make [an] effort towards this goal.”

Tags: News, Foreign Policy, National Security, China, Russia, United Nations, U.N. Security Council, Antony Blinken

Original Author: Joel Gehrke

Original Location: China and Russia ambush Blinken at UN Security Council

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