Statement by H.E. Mr. Qian Qichen at the 23rd Annual Meeting of the Inter-Action Council
(June 22, 2005, Stanford University)
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is a great pleasure for me to come to this charming city of San Francisco and attend the 23rd Annual Meeting of the Inter-Action Council in Stanford University, a cradle of brilliant talents. May I take this opportunity to thank you, Mr. Chairman, for your kind invitation.
It is of special significance to have the meeting here in San Francisco. Sixty years ago, it witnessed the birth of the United Nations. Today, sixty years after, people cherish peace and stability more dearly, pay more attention to development and progress and expect the UN to play a still greater role in international affairs.
The current international situation is still undergoing profound changes. This presents important opportunities for countries around the world to seek peace and promote development. But at the same time, people are confronted with new and graver challenges.
First, while traditional security problems, such as regional conflicts, local wars and ethnic disputes, keep cropping up, non-traditional security problems are also looming larger. Terrorism, proliferation of weapons, drug trafficking, spread of epidemics, environmental degradation, natural hazards and other unexpected problems of global scale are becoming more pronounced.
Second, the increasingly critical issue of poverty and development is becoming a serious destabilizing factor in the world. The gulf of wealth between North and South further widens. The implementation of the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) remains a long and uphill battle.
Third, the tendency toward unilateralism, interference in other countries' internal affairs and the wilful imposition of pressure on or even the use of force against other countries in violation of the UN Charter and the norms of international law occur from time to time.
To safeguard world peace and promote common development of all, it is vital to properly deal with threats and work for mutual benefit and a win-win result. To this end, I believe, efforts must be made in the following aspects:
First, stick to the road of multilateralism. In this connection, the UN is the core of the international collective security mechanism and the best venue to practice multilateralism. The past 60 years shows that the UN still plays an irreplaceable role in international affairs. Needless to say, it needs to adapt itself to the changing situation through necessary reforms. The UN reform should aim at enhancing its ability to meet challenges and threats and, particularly, at promoting the solution of the development issue by taking into full account the lawful rights and interests of developing countries and increasing their voice and representation. To date, many reform proposals have been put forward by parties concerned. Proposals with broad consensus and ripe conditions can be implemented first while discussions can continue on those with big divergences of views. In the reform, democracy should be fully practised and broad consensus sought after through patient consultation. Should an artificial time limit be set or a vote forced despite differences among the parties concerned, it will not help maintain the unity of the UN. Instead, it will jeopardize the process of reform.
Second, foster a new security concept featuring mutual trust, mutual benefit, equality and coordination among nations. The world is a big family. World affairs should be managed by all its members through dialogue and consultation. No matter how complicated these affairs may be, we should invariably adhere to the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, build mutual trust through dialogue, settle disputes through negotiation and maintain security through cooperation.
Third, live in peace and harmony and preserve a diverse world. Over six billion people in the world live in more than 200 countries and regions, falling into 2,500 ethnic groups and speaking 6000-plus languages. This rich and colourful world is blessed with various civilizations, all of which deserve the same respect. To conduct inter-civilization dialogue helps remove estrangement and dissolve conflict. Different countries or ethnic groups should get along as equals, draw strength from one other in competition and mutual emulation, and strive for common development through seeking common ground while putting aside differences.
Fourth, push for common development and achieve mutual benefits and win-win results. Globalization links all countries closely together. We should drive the UN forward to achieve its MDGs and address the development issue so that globalization will benefit all countries. The international community should take forceful steps to set up and improve an open and fair multilateral trade system, reform and improve the international financial system, promote a coordinated, balanced and universal growth of world economy, and, in this process, respect and embody the rights and interests of developing countries.
In September this year, the United Nations will hold a summit for an overall review of major issues of our shared interest, including the MDGs and the UN reform. We should staunchly defend the central role of the UN in international affairs and uphold the authority of the UN Charter. The UN should serve as an important stage for all countries to participate, on an equal footing, in globalization management and promote democracy and rule of law in international relations.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.