Biden's UN pick vows to counter China influence on body
China's 'success depends on our continued withdrawal,' Linda Thomas-Greenfield says
US President Joe Biden's nominee for UN ambassador vowed Wednesday to counter China's alleged influence on the world body.
"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," Linda Thomas-Greenfield said during her hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee as she pledged to restore American leadership at the UN.
"Their success depends on our continued withdrawal," she said. "That will not happen on my watch."
She alluded to the absence of US' leadership in the era of former President Donald Trump by saying: "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.
"If instead we walk away from the table, and allow others to fill the void, the global community suffers -- and so do American interests."
Ties between the US and UN were tense under the Trump administration due to several clashes which resulted in Washington's withdrawal from the Human Rights Council in 2018, and the World Health Organization in July.
Thomas-Greenfield said she regretted giving a speech at China's Confucius Institute in 2019.
"I truly regret having accepted that invitation and having had my name associated with the Confucius Institutes," she said, adding that she accepted an invitation to speak at the historically-black university, Savannah State University in Georgia, to help promote a career in foreign service to minority students.
Former State Secretary Mike Pompeo designated the Confucius Institute as a foreign mission of China that advances "Beijing's global propaganda and malign influence campaign" on US campuses.
Confucius Institutes are Chinese government-funded cultural and linguistic centers that operate on US university campuses.
"Throughout my career, from Jamaica to Nigeria, Pakistan to Switzerland, I've learned that effective diplomacy means more than shaking hands and staging photo ops," said the veteran foreign service official. "It means doing genuine, old-fashioned, people-to-people diplomacy."
Thomas-Greenfield, 67, served as a foreign service officer in several administrations dating to former President Ronald Reagan and was Ambassador to Liberia and the Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs.
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