Linda Thomas-Greenfield said she would work “aggressively against Chinese malign efforts” in the UN if she is confirmed as President Biden’s ambassador to the international body.
“We know China is working across the UN system to drive an authoritarian agenda that stands in opposition to the founding values of the institution – American values,” she told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee during confirmation hearings on Wednesday.
Thomas-Greenfield said the US should rejoin international treaties and organizations that the Trump administration left, so China doesn’t increase its global influence. “Their success depends on our continued withdrawal. That will not happen on my watch,” she said.
Thomas-Greenfield followed other Biden nominees that also took a hostile stance on Beijing during confirmation hearings. On Tuesday, Gina Raimondo, Biden’s pick to head the Commerce Department, said she would take “very aggressive” steps to counter China’s “unfair” trade practices, including tariffs and export restrictions implemented by the Trump administration.
Last week, Secretary of State Antony Blinken told the Senate that President Trump was “was right in taking a tougher approach to China.” Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines said she would take an “aggressive stance” against Beijing and prioritize countering the threat of China’s “counterintelligence.”
Some of the harsh rhetoric has been a reaction to questioning from Republican China hawks who think President Biden will be too soft on China. For Thomas-Greenfield, the China hawks took issue with the fact that she spoke at the Chinese government-funded Confucius Institute at Savannah State University in 2019.
In the 2019 speech, Thomas-Greenfield, who served in Obama’s State Department as head of African affairs, said the US and China could cooperate in Africa and spoke favorably about China’s investment efforts in Africa. But on Wednesday, she said China’s investments in Africa have “not worked for Africans” and that she regretted “having had my name associated with the Confucius Institute.”