NEW YORK, May 12 (UPI) -- China Tuesday hailed its re-election to the 47-member U.N. Human Rights Council, a panel to which the United States also was elected.
China won a 3-year term after a secret ballot at the world body's headquarters in New York gave it 167 votes from the 191-member states present, China's state-run Xinhua news agency reported. The Human Rights Council is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland.
A spokesman for the Chinese Permanent Mission said since being elected as a founding member of the council in 2006, his country has made remarkable achievements in the field of human rights, Xinhua said.
The U.N. HRC was established in 2006 by the U.N. General Assembly in place of the Commission on Human Rights to promote and protect human rights.
The election of the United States, which until now had kept away from the council, was made possible after President Barack Obama last month reversed previous policy, Deutsche Welle reported.
"We ran because this administration and the American people are deeply committed to the values of human rights," U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice told reporters after the vote.
Human rights groups have been critical of the council, saying it provided membership to nations with questionable human rights records, the Jerusalem Post reported.
However, Rice was quoted as saying the United States planned to work from within the organization "based on the strong principles and visions of the American people" on respecting human rights and supporting democracy.