US appoints envoy to counter China’s ‘malign influence’ at UN

WASHINGTON: A top US State Department official has been tasked with countering “malign influences” of China and others at the United Nations, the agency confirmed on Thursday.

“Mr. Lambert, a career Foreign Service officer, has been assigned to the Bureau of International Organisation Affairs as a member of a diverse team of diplomatic professionals working to ensure the integrity of multilateral institutions,” a State Department spokeswoman said.

“This includes countering the malign influences of the PRC and others in the UN system,” the spokeswoman said, using the acronym for the People’s Republic of China.

Foreign Policy Magazine reported on Wednesday that Mark Lambert, most recently the US special envoy for North Korea, would be moving into this role.

The post appears amid skepticism about multilateral institutions within President Donald Trump’s administration.

Trump has repeatedly publicly criticised institutions such as the United Nations, the World Trade Organisation and the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO).

On Wednesday, a senior State Department official told reporters that China had not repatriated North Korean workers by a Dec 22 deadline, in violation of United Nations sanctions.

The Chinese embassy did not immediately respond to a request for comment.