Europe in the World

Reports and papers

A United Nations with Chinese characteristics?

18 Dec 2018 - 15:36
Bron: United Nations Photo/flickr

As China’s role as a major power in international affairs is growing, the Chinese government is becoming more active and more influential in the United Nations (UN). This is likely to have – or, in the eyes of some, already has – a significant impact on the UN’s (future) functioning. Growing Chinese influence is important for all UN members, and particularly so for Western countries, including the Netherlands, which strives to maintain and strengthen the international legal order as a principal foreign policy aim.

This report by Maaike Okano-Heijmans and Frans-Paul van der Putten, with contributions from Etienne Béchard, Louise van Schaik and Vishwesh Sundar, aims to provide a better understanding of the process currently underway. It does so, first, by analysing how and in which direction China’s involvement in the UN is evolving. Next, the discussion turns to the question of how China’s growing involvement is relevant to the setting and the developing of norms and standards within the UN. Finally, the authors explore where European countries and China have common interests, and where their interests are conflicting through presenting three case studies in three thematic areas, namely human rights, development finance and climate change.