China takes over UN Security Council presidency

The People’s Republic of China will lead the United Nations Security Council through November, taking over the rotating presidency from Bolivia.

In a press briefing after taking the role, China’s ambassador to the UN, Ma Zhaoxu, said his country would use the chance to stir debate on “strengthening multilateralism.”

Before Bolivia, the UN Security Council was led by the US, with ambassador Nikki Haley taking the opportunity to push for international resolutions on various issues including Iran, the Middle East and peacekeeping missions.

China’s leadership stint comes ahead of a meeting between President Xi Jinping and his American counterpart Donald Trump on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in Buenos Aires at the end of November.

It is widely believed that the meeting between the two leaders will focus on resolving the trade issue between China and the US.

Presidents Xi and Trump held a phone conversation on Thursday, with the US leaders saying the call had “a heavy emphasis on Trade.”

Liu Zhiqin, from the Chongyang Institute for financial studies at Renmin University of China, hailed the call as an important signal from both sides.

“This phone conversation sends an optimistic sign. First, the top leaders of both countries agreed to have a phone call, which is to keep coordination. And second, both officials and teams agreed on discussing disputed matters, so this (is a) very good signal that both sides have agreed to find a solution,” Liu said.

After China’s leadership at the UN Security Council, Cote d’Ivoire will take over staring December, becoming the only African state to lead the council in 2018.