China signals veto in standoff with U.S. over Afghanistan U.N. mission: diplomats

By Michelle Nichols UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - China and the United States are deadlocked over a U.N. Security Council resolution to extend the world body's political mission in Afghanistan, with Beijing signalling it will cast a veto because there is no reference to its global Belt and Road infrastructure project, diplomats said on Monday. A planned vote on Monday by the 15-member Security Council to renew the mission, known as UNAMA, was delayed to Tuesday to allow for further negotiations.

Reuters September 17, 2019 04:12:22 IST
China signals veto in standoff with U.S. over Afghanistan U.N. mission: diplomats

China signals veto in standoff with US over Afghanistan UN mission diplomats

By Michelle Nichols

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - China and the United States are deadlocked over a U.N. Security Council resolution to extend the world body's political mission in Afghanistan, with Beijing signalling it will cast a veto because there is no reference to its global Belt and Road infrastructure project, diplomats said on Monday.

A planned vote on Monday by the 15-member Security Council to renew the mission, known as UNAMA, was delayed to Tuesday to allow for further negotiations. The mission's mandate expires on Tuesday. To pass, a resolution needs nine votes in favour and no vetoes by the United States, China, France, Russia and Britain.

Ahead of the postponement, diplomats said China was expected to veto a resolution - drafted by Germany and Indonesia - that did not reference the Belt and Road project. China's U.N. mission did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

China was then planning to propose a vote on a short draft resolution, known as a technical rollover, to allow the mission to keep operating, diplomats said. But they added it could fail to get the nine votes needed to pass because several council members were considering abstaining.

The U.N. mission, which was established in 2002, is helping Afghanistan prepare for Sept. 28 elections and is pushing for peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban.

Talks between the United States and the Taliban militants on a U.S. troop withdrawal fell apart earlier this month. There are 14,000 U.S. forces and thousands of other NATO troops in the country, 18 years after a U.S.-led coalition invaded following the Sept. 11, 2001, al Qaeda attacks on the U.S.

The UNAMA mandate is renewed annually by the Security Council. The resolutions in 2016, 2017 and 2018 all included a reference welcoming and urging efforts like China's Belt and Road initiative to facilitate trade and transit.

But when it came time to extend the mandate again in March, the United States and other Western council members wanted the language removed, sparking a standoff with China. The council ended up adopting a six-month technical rollover to allow the mission to keep operating.

At the time, acting U.S. Ambassador Jonathan Cohen slammed China for holding "the resolution hostage" by insisting "on making it about Chinese national political priorities rather than the people of Afghanistan."

He criticized Beijing's Belt and Road initiative - to link China by sea and land through an infrastructure network with southeast and central Asia, the Middle East, Europe and Africa - for "known problems with corruption, debt distress, environmental damage, and lack of transparency."

At a Security Council meeting on Afghanistan last week, Cohen referred to the continuing impasse with China.

"We strongly believe this mandate is too important at this moment to have one Security Council member deny consensus for reasons having nothing to do with UNAMA," Cohen said.

Chinese U.N. Ambassador Zhang Jun did not specifically mention the negotiations on the UNAMA resolution, but said Beijing was working with Afghanistan to advance "the Belt and Road construction to actively support the Afghan rebuilding and its reintegration into the regional economic development."

(Reporting by Michelle Nichols; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Peter Cooney)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

also read

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources
| Reuters
World

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources | Reuters

By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States

China's Xi says navy should become world class
| Reuters
World

China's Xi says navy should become world class | Reuters

BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.