Biden’s United Nations nominee to take a hard line on China

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President Joe Biden’s nominee for ambassador to the United Nations will pledge on Wednesday to take a tough line against China’s attempts to use the international organization to promote authoritarianism.

Linda Thomas-Greenfield, a 35-year veteran of the Foreign Service, is set to make that promise during her confirmation hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. She’s expected to be confirmed on a bipartisan basis, barring any major surprises.

In excerpts of her prepared remarks shared in advance with reporters, Thomas-Greenfield addresses widespread concerns in Washington about the ambitions of the communist government in Beijing. She will say that America cannot walk away from global forums if it wants to advance its interests, a knock on the Trump administration’s frequent disdain for multilateral institutions.

“In particular: We know China is working across the UN system to drive an authoritarian agenda that stands in opposition to the founding values of the institution — American values,” she is set to say. “Their success depends on our continued withdrawal. That will not happen on my watch.”

Thomas-Greenfield, who is Black, is among the most prominent diplomats of color in Washington. The Louisiana State University graduate’s many State Department postings took her from Pakistan to Switzerland to Jamaica. She has served as ambassador to Liberia, assistant secretary of State for African affairs, and as the State Department’s top human resources official.

She is expected to work to strengthen international relationships that frayed under the Trump administration, which withdrew from a number of UN bodies and often pursued a solo approach to diplomacy.

“When America shows up — when we are consistent and persistent — when we exert our influence in accordance with our values — the United Nations can be an indispensable institution for advancing peace, security and our collective well-being,” Thomas-Greenfield is to say. “If instead we walk away from the table, and allow others to fill the void, the global community suffers — and so do American interests.”

She will add, however, that the UN must be held accountable.

“We must have the courage to insist on reforms that make the UN efficient and effective, and the persistence to see reforms through,” she is set to say.

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