|Keynote Speech by Permanent Representative of China to the UN Ambassador Wang Guangya at 2006 UN Day Luncheon Sponsored by UNA-GB|
President Arthur Holcombe,
I am delighted to be invited to today's United Nations Day Luncheon sponsored by the United Nations Association of Greater Boston and to be a part of this joyous gathering for the 61st anniversary of the United Nations. Before I came, President Holcombe suggested a couple of topics, one is China's priority in the work of the United Nations, and the other is the Middle East situation and the role of the Security Council. As the ancient Chinese saying goes, "guests should always do what their hosts please". So based on the topics assigned to me by my host, I am going to share with you my views in these areas, and some hot-spot issues such as the DPRK nuclear issue, as well as China's economic development and China-US relations.
October 24th this year marks the 61st anniversary of the Charter of the United Nations. Over the past 61 years, the United Nations has witnessed both successes and failures. But generally speaking, the United Nations has played an irreplaceable role in maintaining world peace and promoting common development. Entering into the new millennium and the new century, the international situation continues to undergo profound vicissitudes. A wide spectrum of emerging global threats is interwoven, with new complexities adding to the existing problems and old conflicts being exacerbated by new problems. The United Nations is faced with unprecedented challenges, which basically can be divided into two main categories. One is security and the other is development. These are exactly the two major focuses of China.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The United Nations was built on the ruins of two world wars. To maintain world peace and security has naturally become the cardinal purpose of this organization. Over the past 61 years, most countries and regions in the world have enjoyed peace and tranquility and managed to avoid the outbreak of a world war. After the founding of the United Nations, the number of sovereign states has increased fourfold, whereas the number of state-to-state conflicts is lower than the first half of the 20th century. Negotiation, dialogue, mediation and other peaceful means have gradually become the primary choice of countries in the world in settling world disputes. In this regard, the United Nations has certainly made no small contribution. After the cold war, more than half of the state-to-state conflicts have been resolved with the UN mediation. After "9.11", the United Nations has also played a constructive role in guiding and coordinating member states in responding to non-traditional security threats.
However, security situation in the world remains highly complicated with the co-existence of traditional differences and conflicts and rising non-traditional security threats. Terrorism and the proliferation of WMDs have become major hidden perils for international security. In the Middle East, the old wounds are yet to heal and the new injuries have been incurred. The situation in Iraq is still turbulent, Israel-Palestine conflicts remain unsolved, and peace is yet to be realized in Israel and Lebanon. In Africa, the traditional problems continue to exist. In Asia, the region is now confronted with the threat of nuclear proliferation. The world we are living is far from peaceful. The United Nations still faces arduous security tasks.
Peace is the fundamental premise for human progress. Without peace, not only will new development be made impossible, but also will the previous development outcomes be destroyed by wars. One nation's stability and security cannot be built on other countries' turbulence and crisis. In the era of globalization and informatization, no country can maintain its security by simply relying on its own strength. For all countries, big or small, strong or weak, wars and conflicts are disasters and not blessings.
The United Nations, as the core of the collective security mechanism, plays an irreplaceable role in international cooperation to ensure global security. The purposes and principles of the UN Charter are crucial to safeguarding world peace and security. They have been widely recognized as the basic norms governing international relations and must be complied with in real earnest. As the special agency of the UN responsible for maintaining world peace and security, the Security Council must be given the authority to carry out its mandate.
China was subjected to endless bullying and humiliation in the past. China paid huge price during WWII and made enormous contributions to its final victory. According to the incomplete statistics, during the War of Resistance Against Japan, China suffered casualties of over 35 million army men and civilians, with a direct economic loss of 100 billion U.S. dollars, indirect loss of 500 billion dollars. The Chinese people, after such agonizing experience, cherish peace even more profoundly and are committed whole-heartedly to the cause of peace.
We have consistently pursued the independent foreign policy of peace and followed the road of peaceful development. We have all along advocated peaceful settlement of international disputes through negotiation and dialogue and other political and diplomatic means. We oppose the use of force or threat of force in international relations. On the Middle East question, China encourages parties involved to act in accordance with the relevant UN resolutions and the principle of "land for peace", resume peace talks and reinitiate the peace process. On the Iraqi question, China always favors seeking political solution within the UN framework and respecting the aspiration of the Iraqi people for being the master of their own country. It is our consistent position that the international community should proceed from the perspective of world peace and development, give more attention to conflicts in Africa, help free African countries from turbulences, and realize stability and peace, so as to allow them to embark on the road of prosperity.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Over the past 61 years, the United Nations has made vigorous efforts to promote economic and social development at the national level with a view to "promoting social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom". Since the 1960's, the United Nations has launched four consecutive development decades of international development strategy. In September 2000, the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) were set by the UN Millennium Summit to declare war against such development problems as poverty, diseases and environmental pollution. The MDGs have become a milestone instrument for cooperation in development areas. At the same time, we must be well aware that with the acceleration of globalization, rapid progress in science and technology revolution, and fast speed of information dissemination, development efforts are faced with increasingly acute problems, the gap between the North and the South continues to widen with the rich getting richer and the poor poorer. The numerous developing countries are still confronted with diseases, illiteracy, debts, financial risks, deteriorating environment, terrorism and regional conflicts. The realization of MDGs remains a long-term and arduous task.
Development bears on the actual interests of people of all countries. It is the key to removing the root cause of global security threats. No development progress can be made without peace, and no genuine peace can be realized without development. Common development is the promise and foundation for the efforts of the international community to seek solutions to various global issues. Globalization and informatization should bring dividends to all countries and not create bipolarity of the poor getting poorer and the rich richer.
China supports the United Nations in playing a greater development role. Though China is not yet a rich country, it has taken the lead to offer unselfish assistance to other developing countries without attaching any political conditions. We have up to date provided over 110 countries and regional organizations with more than 2,000 aid projects. We have reduced and exempted over 20 billion RMB yuan of debts of 44 least developed countries (LDCs). In addition, in the next 3 years, China will offer 10 billion U.S. dollars of preferential loans and export buyer's credit to the LDCs for their infrastructure development.
China is in favor of increasing UN input in development areas and reinforced international cooperation on development, so as to reverse the trend of "security overriding development". We have all along urged developed countries to fulfill their pledges in terms of financing, trade and debt relief and create an enabling environment for developing countries to achieve faster development. China has formulated, based on its own national conditions, a fairly comprehensive national economic development plan. Our goal is to build a well-off society in an all-round way. This conforms to the MDGs. In 2004, China and the World Bank cosponsored the Global Conference on Scaling Up Poverty Reduction. In 2005, China and the United Nations jointly held an international meeting on the MDGs. In the same year, the International Poverty Reduction Center was officially established in Beijing. We will continue to combine our national development strategy and the MDGs as an organic whole, enhance dialogue and cooperation with different parties, and promote development at the global level.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Currently, world situation is still undergoing profound changes, providing countries in the world with both important opportunities to seek peace and promote development and graver challenges as well. World peace and progress cannot be separated from the international multilateral structure with the United Nations at its core. To better fulfill the noble mission enshrined in the UN Charter, the United Nations needs to progress in pace with the times and carry out all-round and wide-range reforms. A more vigorous and action-oriented United Nations is in the interests of all UN Member States. Countries in the world should firmly support the work of the United Nations, take an active part in all areas of the UN work, promote multilaterialism, safeguard the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, fulfill international obligations and observe international rules.
Looking into the new century, the United Nations shoulders long-term and heavy responsibilities of maintaining peace and promoting development. I am convinced that as long as the United Nations embraces the development of the times, adheres to the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, and listens to the voice of people of all countries, it will be able to play an even greater role in maintaining peace and promoting development. We are full of confidence for the future of the United Nations, and we will, as always, support its noble cause, and make our due contribution to the maintenance of world peace and promotion of common development.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The region of Middle East used to be a land of peace and tranquility. But over the past 50 years, it has become a war-ridden area with incessant flames of war. Though the international community has made enormous endeavor in this region, the situation there is still full of ups and downs. The official promulgation of Middle East "road map" had once brought glimpse of hope for peace, but serious differences occurred among parties involved and armed conflicts remained rampant in the following implementation process. In the second half of this year, and especially in a short span of little over a month, the Middle East region suffered two sanguinary conflicts. The people of Palestine, Lebanon and Israel have paid heavily for this, which not only caused huge losses of life and property, but also shadowed peace process and gravely threatened regional security and stability. We are deeply grieved and concerned.
According to the UN Charter, the Security Council shoulders the primary responsibility for the maintenance of world peace and security. The Security Council is the core of collective security mechanism, and it should undisputedly play its due role on the Middle East question. The UN Security Council resolutions 242, 338, 1397 and the principle of "land for peace" have laid an important foundation for political settlement of Middle East question. They are also guidelines to steer the Middle East peace process towards the right direction. Middle East Peace Roadmap as was embodied in the Security Council resolution remains the most realistic and feasible program for the settlement of Israel-Palestine conflicts.
As was pointed out by Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing in his speech delivered at last month's Security Council foreign ministerial meeting on the Middle East, the Middle East peace process is stalled, yet peace is not out of reach. As long as all the parties concerned persist in peace talks and not in use of force, persist in cooperation and not in confrontation, and persist in mutual understanding and not in discrimination, the gate to peace will surely be opened. The Chinese side always believes that only peaceful talks, not violence and force, can lead to peace in the Middle East. The crux of the problem is mutual distrust and deepened discrimination between Israel and Palestine. Leaders of the two sides should make political decisions, resume dialogue at an early date, remove hostility, and start to fulfill their own obligations according to the "road map", so as to realize peaceful co-existence of two independent states and finally achieve common, mutual and sustained security.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
While the smoke of gunpowder is yet to disperse in the Middle East, the DPRK, in disregard of the common opposition of the international community, flagrantly conducted a nuclear test early this month. This is not conducive to peace and stability in Northeast Asia. Following this event, resolution 1718 was adopted unanimously at the Security Council, which condemns the nuclear test by the DPRK and demands that it give up nuclear weapons and nuclear program and return to the Six-Party Talks unconditionally.
The Chinese Government has all along committed itself to bringing about denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and maintaining peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula. We always advocate seeking a peaceful solution to the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula through diplomatic means. China has made enormous and unremitting efforts for this end, initiated the Six-Party Talks, and pushed parties concerned to reach the Joint Statement. Though there has appeared the negative development of DPRK nuclear test, our above policies remain unchanged. We still believe that the Six-Party Talks are the realistic means for handling the relevant issues. We also firmly oppose the use of force.
Under the current circumstances, we should unswervingly stick to the objective of the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, oppose nuclear proliferation, adhere to the general direction of resolving the issue through peaceful dialogue and negotiation, avoid any acts that may cause escalation of the tension and the situation out of control, and maintain peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula and in Northeast Asia. This is in the common interests of all the parties concerned. All the parties should make vigorous and positive efforts for this end.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
As our participants today are from financial, business and academic circles in Boston and are all very much interested in China's development, I will now talk about this briefly.
Since China started its reform and opening up 27 years ago, national economic development has attained a high annual growth rate of 9.6%. Last year's GDP reached 2,230 billion US dollars, ranking 4th in the world and marking an increase of 11 times compared with 27 years ago. And per capita GDP rose to 1,707 dollars, which was only 225 dollars 27 years ago. In the first half of this year, China's economy kept the momentum of steady and rapid growth, GDP increased by 10.9% over the corresponding period of last year. The steady and rapid economic development has led to continuous expansion of China's foreign trade and fundamental change of market scale and level. In 2005, the total foreign trade volume reached 1,420 billion dollars, the third largest in the world. By February this year, China's foreign-currency reserves surged to 853.6 billion dollars. The latest issue of "Wall Street Journal" even reported that China's foreign-currency reserves already reached 987.9 billion dollars on September 30 this year and was still increasing at a monthly rate of about 20 billion dollars. Though this figure is yet to be proved, it indeed shows that the market in China has enormous potentials and vitality and is attracting increasing world attention.
Accompanying China's development, there have appeared such questions as what development road China will choose, what responsibilities China will undertake for the international community, and whether China will become a stabilizing force for world peace and prosperity. Chinese leaders have repeatedly indicated that China will steadfastly pursue the road of peaceful development, and strive to build a harmonious world of lasting peace and common prosperity. By devoting to national development, China has been playing a responsible role in the world with real actions.
In spite of China's development and enormous progress, we must remain sober to the fact that China is still a developing country faced with arduous tasks in development. Huge population, underdeveloped productive forces, and uneven development remain China's basic national conditions. China's per capita GDP is behind 100 other countries. China still has 23.65 million rural populations living below the poverty line. China needs to provide nearly 24 million jobs a year and take care of and help over 60 million disabled persons. There is also the need for rural transfer of labor force of more than 100 million people. It will be a very long way to go and needs the unswerving efforts of several, dozens and even scores of generations before China realizes modernization. This explains more clearly why China has to develop faster. Because only by attaining development, can China solve its own problems and shoulder bigger share of responsibility in the world.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
This year marks the 27th anniversary of establishment of China-U.S. relations. Over the past 27 years, our bilateral relations have witnessed ups and downs and are not smooth sailing. However, thanks to the joint efforts of both sides, China-U.S. relations have become more mature with increasing common interests and wider areas of cooperation. Our relationship is one of the most important bilateral relations for both of us.
As two big countries, we have different histories, cultures and values and are at different development stages, it is unavoidable to have divergent views between us. The key is how to deal with these differences and contradictions. From the realistic and long-term perspectives, our two countries should put our common interests first, and it is entirely possible for us to benefit from each other and become constructive partners. Cooperation and mutual benefit should be the strategic principle of China-U.S. relations. Especially in the age of globalization and informatization, we share extensive common interests in a wide spectrum of areas, including combating terrorism, containing arms proliferation, bringing about financial stability, increasing market access, curbing environmental pollution, and preventing and treating infectious diseases. Only by conducting mutually beneficial cooperation, can we both effectively respond to challenges and make common progress.
As the biggest developing country and the biggest developed country in the world and both as permanent members of the UN Security Council, China and the United States shoulder special responsibilities for peace, security and prosperity in the world and especially in the Asia-Pacific region. Reinforced dialogue and cooperation between China and the United States is pivotal for maintaining and promoting peace, stability and development in the Asia-Pacific region and the world as a whole and for enabling the United Nations to play a greater role in world affairs.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
We advocate building a harmonious world of lasting peace and common prosperity, and its essence is harmony. Only by treating each other benevolently, can people live together harmoniously. Only by attaining coordinated development, can we achieve lasting harmony. This is the crux of peace and development, and is the noble mission of the United Nations.
Let us join hands and make concerted efforts to build a harmonious world of lasting peace and common prosperity.