President Joe Biden called for changes to the United Nations for a more “inclusive” structure at an annual speech before the United Nations General Assembly in New York on Wednesday.
Biden championed expanding the number of permanent and non-permanent seats on the Security Council to bring in representatives from countries in Africa and Latin America before an audience of leaders from nearly 200 countries in an effort to bring more voices to the table at the United Nations.
He touted the U.S. recent efforts to address climate change and the global food crisis driven by the war in Ukraine, high inflation rates and supply chain problems. attributed in part to the unprovoked and illegal incursion of one Security Council permanent member into neighbor territory.
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Calling for the international body to coalesce around shared principles of rule of law and nonproliferation, Biden said “the time has come for [the U.N.] to become more inclusive.”
U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Linda Thomas-Greenfield’s proposal on reforming the UN Security Council laid out reforms to the UN Security council earlier in September, including a resolution requiring the five permanent members of the UN Security Council — the U.S., Russia, China, the United Kingdom and France — to justify their use of veto privileges.
“The Security Council should also better reflect the current global realities and incorporate more geographically diverse perspectives,” she said.
“The United States should refrain from the use of the veto,” Biden reiterated in his address.
He also lauded Western allies for providing billions in military and financial support for Ukraine and rebuked Russia for what it refers to as a “special military operation” in Ukraine, but international leaders have condemned as an unprovoked war of ambition.
The U.S. supports “a new economic ecosystem where everyone gets a fair shot,” said Biden, including the imposition of a global minimum tax for corporations.
The president called on state creditors to transparently negotiate debt forgiveness with clients instead of using loan structures to bring poorer nations under their influence.
He condemned malign states’ efforts to exploit trade vulnerabilities, conduct cyberattacks, and threaten free and open innovation, but did not directly tie these remarks to China.
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Biden reiterated his support for the One China policy and opposition to unilateral violations of the status quo in the Taiwan Strait, after pledging earlier this week to intervene militarily in the event of a Chinese invasion of Taiwan.
Biden will hold additional meetings with world leaders throughout the day, including his first bilateral meeting with the newly-elected UK. Prime Minister Liz Truss, White House spokesperson Jake Sullivan said.
Neither Russian President Vladimir Putin nor Chinese President Xi Jinping are attending the convention in person, despite their status as heads of two of the five permanent members on the Security Council.
While the U.S. president typically speaks on the first day of plenary meetings, Biden delayed his speech to accommodate travel home to the U.S. from attending the funeral of Queen Elizabeth III in London.