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March 28, 2021 44 min

China’s growing economic clout has seen its influence rise accordingly in major international institutions — and none more so than in the United Nations. 

For several years now, China has spoken of the UN as the most authoritative multilateral body in world affairs - and it's put its money where its mouth is, becoming the second-biggest contributor to the UN’s finances. Meanwhile, Chinese citizens have taken several leading roles in UN organisations. 

But China’s growing presence in the organisation has come during a period when the UN's focus has shifted in ways that seem to run counter to Beijing’s interests and beliefs - such as its increased willingness to intervene within countries to resolve conflict or protect human rights. 

And some of China's actions at the UN - like vetoing attempts to put more pressure on Syria's government -  have drawn heavy criticism from major Western powers, and raised questions about whether its approach to international relations conflicts with the UN’s developing conception of its own role in global affairs.

To unpick some of these issues, Andrew is  joined by Professor Rosemary Foot, a senior research fellow in the Department of Politics and International Relations at the University of Oxford - and  Dr Courtney Fung, associate professor in International Relations at the University of Hong Kong. 

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