World

China asks US to pay its dues to the UN; calls US the ‘largest debtor’

Prashasti Awasthi Mumbai | Updated on May 17, 2020

China issued a statement on Friday asking the United Nations (UN) member countries to pay their dues to the UN, furthermore stressing that the United States (US) is the biggest debtor and has to pay more than $2billion to the UN, as per the AFP report.

The statement cited a report from the UN Secretary-General’s office that read: “As of May 14, the total unpaid assessments under the UN regular budget and peacekeeping budget amount to 1.63 billion and 2.14 billion US dollars respectively.”

Including arrears that stretch back several years, “the United States is the largest debtor, owing 1.165 billion and 1.332 billion US dollars respectively,” China added.

The US is the biggest contributor to the UN budget, paying 22 per cent of its annual running costs, a bill which adds up to around $3 billion; and 25 per cent of its peacekeeping operations, which amount to some $6 billion a year, AFP report stated.

Officially, the US was supposed to pay 27.89 per cent of the peacekeeping budget, but a decision made by Congress and implemented by President Donald Trump in 2017 cut that payment to 25 per cent. This means that the US will now pay $200 million less.

The US, however, condemned China’s statement and said that China is “eager to distract attention from its cover-up and mismanagement of the Covid-19 crisis, and this is yet another example.”

It added: “The United States recently made a payment of $726 million toward its peacekeeping assessment, and per practice will pay the bulk of its assessment at the end of the calendar year.”

It said the total peacekeeping arrears was $888 million, adding: “Roughly two-thirds of this amount is the result of payment at the rate of 25 percent from 2017 through the present.”

In a report on May 11, Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned that “there may be significant delays towards the middle of the year unless the cash position across missions improves significantly.”

On Thursday, around 50 of the 193 member states, including China, paid their contributions in full, which Beijing -- the second-largest contributor, far behind the United States -- noted in its statement.

China pays around 12 percent of the UN’s running costs and around 15 percent of the peacekeeping budget, the AFP report added.

Published on May 17, 2020

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