US' 'small clique' multilateralism to be exposed at upcoming UN session

BEIJING (Global Times): Chinese State Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi will host a virtual session of the United Nations (UN) Security Council on Friday (May 7) with the attendance of US counterpart Antony Blinken and other foreign ministers, the second meeting between the two since the top diplomats’ meeting in Alaska.

The session is seen as an opportunity for China to push multilateralism back on the right track after the US-led G7 hyped up the “China threat” with clique politics.

Convened by China, the event will be the first one since China held the UN Security Council’s rotating presidency for the month of May. Discussion and debate on Friday’s session will focus on the theme of maintaining multilateralism and the international system with the UN at its core.

In response to a question on what outcome is expected from the meeting, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said on Friday at a regular press briefing that clique politics is undermining the authority and effectiveness of multilateral institutions, and ideological confrontation is undermining the fairness and equity of multilateralism.

China would like to take the session as an opportunity to reaffirm support for multilateralism and firm commitment to the values and principles of the UN Charter, and to uphold the international system with the UN at its core, the spokesperson said.

One day before the session, Chinese President Xi Jinping held a phone conversation with United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Thursday, reiterating the importance of multilateralism, the Xinhua News Agency reported.

The world needs genuine multilateralism, Xi said, adding that all countries should act in accordance with the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, refrain from pursuing unilateralism and hegemonism, and should not use multilateralism as a pretext to form small circles or stir up ideological confrontation.

Although US media said that Blinken planned to defend the US’ “rules-based” international system, which he believed is facing the increasingly growing “China threat,” China in the UN event will explicitly oppose the US’ practice of "several-lateralism," which attempted to bully allies into making rules and excluding those who hold different views, analysts said.

Shi Yinhong, director of Center for American Studies at Renmin University of China, told the Global Times on Friday that unlike the US, China's contribution to world multilateralism is increasing every year.

It is China's consistent position to oppose unilateralism, trade protectionism. China has also actively promoted international political democracy, the experts said, noting these principles will be reflected in the UN session.

Lü Xiang, a research fellow at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing, told the Global Times that global cooperation to contain the pandemic will be an important topic during the UN session, and given that the situation in places such as India has already reached the point of humanitarian disaster, countries, especially developed countries, need to make concerted efforts to help.

The expert said that the Chinese foreign minister is likely to issue constructive proposals for immediate cooperation with other countries, such as joint vaccine and medical material production.

Meanwhile, although the Biden administration is seeking to waive the Covid-19 vaccine patents, the local pharma industry could thwart the plan, the expert said.

Minister Wang is also expected to call for global trade liberalisation and a collaborative effort to accelerate the economic recovery, especially given the US’ continued reliance on protectionist practices and monetary stimulus as a means of mitigating the crisis, said Lü.

Recent polls have shown that Biden is more popular with US allies than Donald Trump, but the broader picture is of a decline in US leadership around the world due to its clique politics.

In a Morning Consult poll released in late April, favourites of the US have risen in Britain, France, Germany, Japan and Australia since January when Biden took office. However, favourable views of the US have declined in China and Russia.

Reported by the Guardian on Wednesday, another poll in Western countries shows that the US is seen as more of a threat to democracy than Russia and China, with 44 per cent of respondents in the 53 countries concerned that the US threatens democracy in their country.

“They show neither the US, nor the G7, can simply assume the mantle of defenders of democracy,” the Guardian said.

Analysts said that these two polls reflect that the so-called return to multilateralism by the US is only a kind of cliques politics that has not departed from the Cold War mentality. Apart from rallying allies to contain China and Russia, the US has failed to show leadership when it comes to the world's issues—such as the pandemic, economic recovery and regional security—which has disappointed the rest of the world, including much of the West.

Democracy in international relations is fading as the US engages in hegemony and power politics and disregards the existing international order, Zhang Tengjun, an assistant research fellow at the China Institute of International Studies told the Global Times on Friday.

China has provided vaccine assistance to at least 80 developing countries and exported vaccines to more than 50 countries. China has also announced that it will strive to be carbon neutral by 2060, make maximum efforts and contributions to addressing climate change and actively promote international cooperation. Through the Belt and Road Initiative, China provides practical help to developing countries in construction and trade.

Song Luzheng, a research fellow at the China Institute of Fudan University, told the Global Times on Friday that there are fundamental differences between the multilateralism China supports and the small cliques such as G7 and Quad led by the US.

The multilateralism that China supports does not have any country in mind, but the small cliques that the US endorses are targeting China (as a threat), said Song.

He added that China promotes mutually beneficial cooperation and does not attach any political conditions, but the small cliques led by the US are bonded by so-called values; cooperating with the US only has political benefits but not concrete economic gains.

“Countries that cooperate with China can have actual gains, but they have to pay a heavy price when following the US,” said Song.

Kishore Mahbubani, Singapore's former ambassador to the UN, said during an event in April that the US has yet to understand that the fundamental competition in East Asia today is not military, but economic.

How can the US ask other countries to give up their real interests and sacrifice their relations with China for the US?

It is not in the US’ interest to continue the Trump administration's China policy. The Biden administration should wisely terminate it and try to engage in dialogue with China on the basis of mutual respect, he said. - Global Times

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China , US , UN Security Council , meeting , Wang Yi , Blinken


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