Kenya asks for China’s support for UN Security Council seat

Kenya has asked China to support her bid for a non-permanent seat at the United Nations Security Council (UNSC).

According to Lindsay Kiptiness, the Deputy Director for Asia and Australasia Directorate in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the two countries have strong bilateral ties that need to be cemented by the support of each other’s interests.

“Each country has a national interest and now we are interested in this seat. We urge our friends, including China, to support our candidature,” Mr Kiptiness said during a meeting at the Chinese Embassy in Nairobi on Tuesday.

However, China was non-committal, saying they have to consult first.

“We have to coordinate with the African Union (AU) first to know how to go about it, then we will inform Kenya of our decision,” said Li Xuhang, the chargé d'affaires at the embassy.

China is a permanent member at the Security Council and its support would be a great boost to Kenya’s candidature.

Africa has three non-permanent member seats at the UNSC and one of the seats is reserved for the Eastern African region for the 2021-2022 term.

Only Kenya and Djibouti have so far expressed interest for the seat in the election set to be held during the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in September this year.

The current non-permanent African member states are Côte d’Ivoire and Equatorial Guinea whose terms end this year, and South Africa whose term lasts until next year.

Mr Kiptiness said the Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary will soon launch a campaign strategy that Kenya will use to lobby for the seat.

But before then, he said, Kenya is already seeking the support of her friends at every opportunity her representatives get.

“Everyone is our friend and we must talk to all of them. At the Asian front where I am based, we have already sent a team to the ground and we are waiting for the response,” said Kiptiness.

Other than China, the UNSC has four other permanent members with veto powers, including the United States, the United Kingdom, France and Russia.

Five of the 10 non-permanent member slots are shared between African and Asian countries.

Kenya has been a non-permanent member of the council twice in the years 1973-1974 and 1997-1998.

In September last year, Foreign Affairs CS Monica Juma said the scope of the campaign would be determined by the number of countries contesting for the seat.

“We’re hoping that we can get an endorsement at the AU level. If that endorsement comes through, the campaign will be very easy,” she said.