From commitment to concerted action
Remarks by Vice Foreign Minister Cui Tiankai of China
First of all, I would like to thank the host government for the hospitality and more importantly, for the commitment to host this ministerial after the traumatic disaster over two months ago.
We all understand it has been an extremely difficult period of time for Japan. I recall the pouring in of warmth from the Japanese people to the Chinese people when Wenchuan earthquake hit China in 2008. As the Chinese Ambassador to Japan at that time, I witnessed it all and now I share your pains and sufferings.
Last week, Premier Wen Jiabao once again pledged our support to the relief efforts during his visit to the disaster-stricken area. Today, I want to reaffirm that the Chinese people stand firmly behind you in your future reconstruction endeavor.
When leaders conceived the MDGs a decade ago, they recognized these were ambitious targets. When they met again last year in New York, many suggested that the overall picture was not reassuring.
Many countries, especially LDCs are lagging behind and hit hard by recent cycles of crisis. Millions of people still suffer from hunger and millions more children suffer from malnutrition. There are more LDCs today than forty years ago.
These are cases for real concern. If we fail to step up our efforts in the years to come, we risk losing a battle to make a real difference for those people in need.
To discuss the MDGs from the angle of human security offers a thought-provoking perspective. We believe that the MDGs and human security are interrelated and should be mutually reinforcing. The MDGs embody so many aspects of human security, while the realization of MDGs aims at greater well-being and security of more people in the first place.
However, the world is miles away from achieving either the MDGs or human security.
The general picture of global security remains disturbing. Civilians in North Africa and the Middle East continue to bear the brunt of turmoil. Innocent women and children are still being displaced or killed in armed conflicts in various parts of the world. These give rise to the call for a new concept on security and an international political order where the United Nations should play a central role. We strongly believe that the purposes and principles of the UN Charter should be upheld, and the Security Council resolutions should be implemented in a faithful manner.
The recent international financial crisis has caused losses of millions of jobs across the globe. Price hike of food and other major commodities pushed communities in many developing countries back into poverty. It is therefore a compelling task to reform the current international economic and financial system with greater emphasis on the needs and concerns of the developing world.
We are also faced with immense challenges of natural disasters. The powerful earthquake and tsunami in Japan not only caused havocs, but also severely threatened nuclear security and alarmed the whole world. Extreme weather such as cyclones caused widespread damage. Joint response through multifaceted cooperation among states and regions is therefore of over-arching significance.
In a word, if human security in the larger sense of the term is still so much threatened, there is little hope for better individual security. This is the big picture we must not lose sight of in our efforts for the MDGs.
The international development agenda is calling for real political decision.
The financial crisis has highlighted the need to ensure a strong, sustainable, balanced and inclusive growth in global economy. The issue of imbalance has become the talk of the town.
Then what is the biggest imbalance in global economy? It is the development imbalance in the world. It is ironic to read reports of Wall Street bankers trying to justify their bonus, while women and children in Africa are deprived of safe drinking water and food.
In this context, the MDGs targets on our agenda are of particular relevance.
If the gap between the developed and developing countries continues to widen, not only will we fail to attain MDGs targets, we will never be able to achieve a strong, sustainable and balanced growth in global economy.
We need to break this imbalance and actions should be taken on all fronts.
First, we must achieve strong economic growth. Without economic growth, no country can develop and prosper, let alone the realization of MDGs. Developing countries should be given the policy space to design development strategies suited to their own circumstances and mobilize resources in a more efficient manner.
Second, we must strengthen development assistance. More attention needs to be given to the most vulnerable countries, African countries, LDCs and Small Island Developing States (SIDS) in particular. I share the view that ODA is not only a moral obligation but also investment for the future. As Secretary General Ban Ki-moon urged at the recent LDC conference in Istanbul, developed countries have to change their mind-set and recognize LDCs as vast reservoirs of untapped potential.
Third, we must work for a multilateral trading system that is open, fair, transparent, non-discriminatory and equally beneficial to all sides. We should take concrete actions to reject trade protectionism and bring about a comprehensive and balanced conclusion to the Doha Development Round negotiations.
Finally, we must establish an effective global partnership. We welcome the participation of various actors to make their constructive contributions. We support the United Nations to play a central role in coordinating the efforts of all stakeholders.
China has a population of 1.3 billion. We shoulder special responsibilities in fulfilling MDGs, and I am happy to announce that we are well on track. We have achieved MDG 1, 2, and 4 ahead of time and are projected to meet all other MDG targets by 2015.
We are proud of what we have accomplished through strenuous efforts. At the same time, we are keenly aware of the challenges ahead.
China's aggregate GDP has become the second largest in the world, but in per capita terms, it is only one-tenth of that of developed countries.
About 150 million people in China are still living below the poverty line set by the United Nations. We also need to address the challenges such as uneven development between urban and rural areas, between different regions, and between different groups in society.
In addition, our economic development increasingly faces severe energy, resources and environmental constraints.
Nevertheless, China has all along honored its commitments to the Millennium Declaration, and has been, to the best of its ability, providing assistance to other developing countries, especially LDCs, under the framework of South-South Cooperation.
China's assistance has contributed to the attainment of MDGs in many developing countries, including through agriculture and rural development to eradicate hunger and poverty, building schools and hospitals to help with primary education and basic medical care in developing countries. China will do more as it develops.
All our peoples deserve a better life. MDGs define basic elements of a better life. To achieve these goals, we need to work together in the spirit of global partnership, everyone in this hall are part of this partnership. Together, we will achieve MDGs across the globe. Together, we will bring better life to everyone in the world. All we need to do is to honor our leaders' commitments and take concerted actions right now, right here.