January 23, 2020 / 7:57 PM / 25 days ago

U.S. tasks official to counter China's 'malign influence' at U.N.

WASHINGTON/OCALA, Florida (Reuters) - A top U.S. State Department official has been tasked with countering “malign influences” of China and others at the United Nations, the agency confirmed on Thursday.

“Mr. Lambert, a career Foreign Service officer, has been assigned to the Bureau of International Organization Affairs as a member of a diverse team of diplomatic professionals working to ensure the integrity of multilateral institutions,” a State Department spokeswoman said.

“This includes countering the malign influences of the PRC and others in the U.N. system,” the spokeswoman said, using the acronym for the People’s Republic of China.

Foreign Policy Magazine reported on Wednesday that Mark Lambert, most recently the U.S. special envoy for North Korea, would be moving into this role.

The post appears amid skepticism about multilateral institutions within President Donald Trump’s administration.

Trump has repeatedly publicly criticized institutions such as the United Nations, the World Trade Organization and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

On Wednesday, a senior State Department official told reporters that China had not repatriated North Korean workers by a Dec. 22 deadline, in violation of United Nations sanctions.

The Chinese embassy did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Reporting by Makini Brice in Washington and Humeyra Pamuk in Ocala, Florida; editing by Tim Ahmann and Jonathan Oatis

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