China signals veto in standoff with US over Afghan UN mission

It is expected to veto a resolution because it did not include a reference to its global Belt and Road infrastructure project

Photo: Xinhua Wu Haitao, China's deputy ambassador to the United Nations, addresses a Security Council meeting.

China and the United States are currently deadlocked over an UN resolution to extend a mission in Afghanistan, with Beijing signaling it will cast a veto because there is no reference to its Belt and Road project, diplomats told Reuters on Monday.

A planned vote on Monday by the 15-member Security Council to renew the UN mission, known as UNAMA, was delayed to Tuesday to allow for more negotiations. The mission’s mandate also expires on Tuesday.

To pass, a resolution needs nine votes in favor and no vetoes by the United States, China, France, Russia and Britain. But ahead of the postponement, diplomats said China was expected to veto a resolution - drafted by Germany and Indonesia - that did not include a reference to its global Belt and Road infrastructure project.

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.

Speaking in Beijing, Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said she “did not know where this news had come from”.

"The situation in Afghanistan was at a crucial stage and China supported UNAMA - the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan - to support reconstruction there", she said.

China hoped Security Council members would “jointly safeguard the important consensus reached in the past, respect each other’s concerns, continue to carry out constructive cooperation on the Afghan issue, and safeguard the unity of the Security Council”.

The UN mission, which was established in 2002, is helping Afghanistan prepare for a 28 September presidential election and is pushing for peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban.

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