China’s Role in the United Nations: Revisionist, Reformist or Status Quo?

Research event
22 September 2020 — 12:00PM TO 12:45PM

China’s relationship with the United Nations has deepened since the end of the Cold War, exemplified by the country’s increased involvement in, and support for, UN initiatives and peacekeeping efforts. China is the second largest contributor to the United Nations budget and currently heads up four of the 15 UN specialized agencies. At the same time, the UN has undergone its own post-Cold War shift, increasingly promoting human protection.

These two trends raise important questions about China’s role in the United Nations. The speakers will discuss the evolution of China’s relationship with the UN and assess what kind of challenge, if any, it poses to the liberal dimensions of global order. How has the United Nations influenced Beijing in adopting global norms? Is China attempting to shape the UN from within? And should China be viewed as a revisionist, reformist or status quo power?


Courtney J. Fung, Associate Fellow, Asia-Pacific Programme, Chatham House
Rosemary Foot, Senior Research Fellow, Department of Politics and International Relations, University of Oxford
Chair: Champa Patel, Director, Asia-Pacific Programme, Chatham House

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