The ongoing tension between US and China became evident at a recent United Nations Security Council meeting as envoys traded barbs over global leadership. Previously, the US has accused China of concealing information about the pandemic. In addendum, the Trump-led administration has also halted funding of the World Health Organisation accusing it of conspiring with China.
Speaking at the UNSC meeting on humanitarian aids operations in Syria, US’ UN ambassador, Kelly Craft asked China to "validate its claim of global leadership in combating COVID-19" by supporting "a resolution to allow the UN to combat the pandemic by life-saving aids crosses border” into Syria. However, in retaliation, China’s ambassador Zhang Jun said that Beijing has urged the US to focus on global efforts to fight the virus, "stop playing political games and really focus on saving lives and stop diverting from its responsibilities to other countries”.
In the meeting, UN aid chief Mark Lowcock appealed to the council to renew authorization to deliver aid through two cross border entry points from Turkey in the war-hit nation so as to provide “lifeline for millions of civilians”. In January, the council had allowed for six-year-long aid operations to continue from two entry points in Turkey for six months However, it had dropped cross border entry point from Iran and Jordan after opposition from Russia and China.
Craft also pushed for reopening cross border points in Iraq but Russian ambassador Vassily Nebenzia opposed it asking him to not waste his time in reopening closed points. The UNSC reportedly needs to readopt the resolution before July 10 to reopen cross border points.
Meanwhile, the U.N. special envoy for Syria has called for talks between Russia and the United States to help end the more than nine-year-old war. Russia is a staunch supporter of Syrian President Bashar Assad. Geir Pedersen’s encouragement to Moscow and Washington to take a leading role was his first public appeal to the rival powers on opposing sides of the conflict.