China’s support for India’s UN Security Council seat is by no means guaranteed
Like China, the United States too has taken the position that ‘a consensus should be evolved over UNSC expansion’. Though that sounds rather ambiguous, it is perceived by many as a reluctance to expand the Security Council and by implication opposition to India’s bid for a permanent seat. At the very least, this position indicates an unwillingness on the part of China (and now the United States) to be held to the September deadline that was proposed by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan last month.
The Indian media is reading far too much into Wen Jiabao’s diplomatic remark when he said that China would be ‘pleased to see India as a permanent member of the UN Security Council’. As the Indian Express reports Wen was forced to make this remark more as a nicety than as a declaration of policy intent. At best, China is likely to remain neutral on India’s candidature; not least because of its increasingly worsening bilateral relations with Japan, who is part of an all-or-none candidature that includes Brazil and Germany. Tellingly, Xinhua, China’s official news agency makes no mention of the issue in its reports on Wen’s visit. China has signed a bilateral co-operation treaty with Pakistan recently under which the two countries will “enhance their cooperation in the United Nations and other international and regional organisations”. While this does not compromise China’s ability to support India’s candidature, it is cannot do so without violating its treaty with Pakistan.
Tailpiece: Pakistan and Italy, meanwhile, are busy serving coffee to the world’s diplomats. They claim to have attracted 119 countries to their camp, which opposes the expansion of the Security Council. India, Japan, Germany and Brazil claim to have attracted 150 countries. Since there are only about 190 countries in the United Nations, a lot of people are simply helping themselves to the free coffee.