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Statement by Ambassador Zhang Jun at the Open Debate of the Security Council on Upholding the UN Charter

2020/01/09

Mr. President,

China appreciates Vietnam's initiative to convene today's open debate. We welcome Your Excellency, Mr. Phạm Bình Minh, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Vietnam, presiding over this session. We thank UN Secretary General Mr. Antonio Guterres for his briefing, which contains a host of important observations and insights worthy of in-depth consideration by us all. China also thanks Madam Mary Robinson for her presentation.

I wish to use this opportunity to express my deepest condolences over the demise of passengers from various countries in the Ukrainian airplane crash that took place in Iran and express my heartfelt sympathy to the victims' families.

Seventy-five years ago, the Charter of the United Nations officially came into force, marking the birth of the United Nations and the start of a brand new chapter in human history. The UN Charter is a great historical text that came into being in the 20th century. As a cornerstone of multilateralism, the Charter establishes the basic norms governing international relations in the present day, develops generally recognized principles of international law, and charts the way forward for human society.

Over the past 75 years, the "four purposes" and "seven principles" enshrined in the UN Charter make up the basic credo by which States interact with one another. The principles of, inter alia, sovereign equality, peaceful settlement of disputes, no threat or use of force, respect for the political independence and territorial integrity of States, and non-interference in the internal affairs have taken root in the hearts and minds of the peoples and have contributed significantly to world peace and common development.

That said, if we look around the world today, universal peace remains elusive. Unilateralism is on the rise, dealing heavy blows to international rule of law and the international order, and as a result of spreading protectionism, the world economy is plagued with uncertainties. This is compounded by acts of bullying, whose effects are being felt around the world and are jeopardizing global peace and stability. The recent sudden tensing up of the situation in the Middle East Gulf region has significantly increased the risk of war. Much remains to be done to achieve peace and security, as today's world makes it more imperative than ever before to uphold the UN Charter.

This year marks the 75th anniversary of the United Nations. Revisiting and reminding ourselves of the spirit of the Charter is the best way to commemorate the Organization's 75th birthday and is all the more relevant given the present context. One need only open the Charter to find the unequivocal opening preambular paragraph staring us in the face - "to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, which twice in our lifetime has brought untold sorrow to mankind". That is the founding aspiration of the United Nations and, more importantly, the mission of this Organization's 193 Member States. Seventy-five years on, we must ask ourselves: Have we really succeeded? Will this and succeeding generations be saved from the scourge of war? The answer to that, which remains as yet unknown, will depend on whether or not each and every State bears in mind the founding aspiration proclaimed in the Charter and honors the mission enshrined in the Charter.

In upholding the UN Charter, we must pursue mutually beneficial cooperation. The world is undergoing the most dramatic shifts in a century. No country can take on the challenges confronting humankind on its own; no country can afford to regress to self-imposed isolation. It is imperative to create greater opportunities through cooperation, overcome the risks and challenges, and achieve common development. It is imperative to strive for win-win results on equal footing and refrain from the "all-for-me" approach, so that all countries enjoy equal rights and benefit from equal opportunities on a level playing field.

In upholding the UN Charter, we must be guided by international rule of law. Countries must interact with one another with integrity and must not flip-flop or go back on their words; international cooperation must be anchored in rules, which means you must not do whatever you want. We must firmly oppose the practice of putting a country's own interests above those of other countries; oppose wanton misinterpretation of international law; oppose the hegemonic logic of selective application; and oppose long-arm jurisdiction and unilateral sanctions.

In upholding the UN Charter, we must adhere to equity and justice. Equity means matters of international nature are to be discussed and managed by us all; that all countries are equal, regardless of their size; that bigger countries have a duty to help smaller ones and the same goes for rich countries vis-a-vis poorer ones. Justice is manifested in mutual respect for each other's sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity. It is also manifested in respect for every country's independent choice of development path and for every country's right to pursue a better life and a bigger space for development.

In upholding the UN Charter, we must take effective actions. The Charter should not stay on the shelf, much less on the lips. It should be put into practice on the ground, to generate tangible results. The Charter invests the Security Council with the primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security. This is a sacred mission of the 15 members of this Council. We must always act in the interests of the greater good, that is, safeguarding world peace; we must enhance mutual trust; strengthen unity, avoid the politicization of certain issues, and be committed to defusing conflicts and preventing wars, so we can have a safer and more secure world.

At present, the United States' unilateral military adventurism has led to the tensing up of the situation in the Middle East Gulf region. China supports Secretary General Guterres' call for peace. We have been actively engaged in diplomatic operations and are committed to playing a responsible and constructive role in safeguarding international law, equity and justice, and regional peace and stability. We call on all parties concerned to exercise maximum restraint, return to dialogue and consultation without delay, jointly work toward a de-escalation of the situation and jointly maintain JCPOA. If the situation in the region spun out of control, it would not serve the interests of any party. Restoring peace is of crucial importance to the entire world. The Security Council should assume its duty emanating from the Charter for the maintenance of international peace and security.

Mr. President,

China was the first country to sign the UN Charter. It has consistently and scrupulously adhered to the purposes and principles of the Charter and has unfailingly supported efforts to defend the authority and functions of the United Nations. In 2015, here on the podium of the United Nations, Chinese President Xi Jinping systematically expounded on the important vision of building a community of shared future for humankind, which is a continuation and 'sublimation of the purposes of the UN Charter.

In the face of the new era and new situation, China's commitment to the Charter is unwavering and China honors every promise of support for the United Nations.

China will uphold the principle of peaceful settlement of disputes, play its role as a permanent member of the Security Council, be committed to an impartial stand on hotspot issues, both international and regional, and propose constructive solutions to safeguard international peace and security.

China will uphold sovereign equality, political independence and territorial integrity of all countries and non-interference in other countries' internal affairs, and is ready to share its development experience and provide necessary assistance to countries in need, but China will not export any models or attach any political strings to its assistance.

China will uphold the principle of no threat of force or use of force. Peaceful development has long been enshrined in China's Constitution. Regardless of the stage of development it is in, China will never seek hegemony or expansion.

China will faithfully fulfill its obligations under the UN Charter, actively participate in UN peacekeeping operations, seriously fulfill its financial obligations to the UN, and support the United Nations' central role in international multilateral affairs.

China will actively implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. China will completely eradicate absolute poverty and build a well-off society in an all-round way in 2020. China will promote high-quality joint construction of the Belt and Road Initiative, so that the dividends of China's development can benefit all countries in the world.

Mr. President,

The world we live in is full of hope; it is also rife with challenges. We must not give up our dreams just because the reality is complex; we must not abandon our pursuit just because our ideals are not within easy reach. Let's work hand in hand and tirelessly to realize the purposes and principles of the UN Charter and to build a community of shared future for humankind.

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