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Statement by Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing at the General Debate of the 60th Session of the UN General Assembly

A Road Towards Peace, Harmony and Common Development

Statement by Mr. Li Zhaoxing, Minister of Foreign Affairs of China
At the General Debate of the 60th Session of the UN General Assembly

New York, September 19, 2005

Mr. President,

May I begin by extending my congratulations to your election as the President of the 60th Session of the General Assembly. I believe that under your guidance, this session will achieve fruitful results. I also wish to take this opportunity to express my sincere respects to H.E. Jean Ping, the previous President, and Secretary-General Kofi Annan.

This year marks the 60th anniversary of the world anti-fascist war and the founding of the United Nations. Just a few days ago, in this solemn hall, world leaders adopted the Declaration of the Summit. Now it falls upon us to fulfill the important and pressing task of working towards a harmonious world of lasting peace and common prosperity by translating the Declaration into actions and turning beautiful words into reality.

Mr. President,

This Session should serve to promote peace, harmony and common development.

We want peaceful development. Progress of mankind needs a peaceful environment. Stability and security of one country cannot be built on turbulence or crisis of another.

Only a new security concept featuring mutual trust, mutual benefit, equality and coordination will enable us to develop ourselves in peace and safeguard peace by development.

We want harmonious development. To build a better future is the long-cherished dream of mankind. Any development strategy should be guided by a long-term and holistic perspective instead of immediate and sectoral benefits.

Therefore we should work together for more democratic and law-based international relations, and a harmonious environment in which countries respect one another, treat one another as equals, and different cultures can emulate and interchange with each other.

We want common development. No model of development which benefits only a few countries or a small group of people is acceptable or sustainable.

Countries should cooperate with each other more closely to bring economic globalization on the track towards win-win results, benefit-sharing and common prosperity.

Mr. President,

This Session should serve to push forward reforms of the UN and strengthen its role. Having weathered 60 years of vicissitudes, the United Nations needs multi-faceted and multi-dimensional reforms so as to be able to make greater contribution to mankind's noble cause of peace and development.

The position of the UN as the core of world collective security mechanism must be strengthened so that it can perform its duty of safeguarding peace in a more effective way.

China supports the efforts to enhance the UN's capacity on conflict prevention, mediation and good-office. We also welcome a greater role of the Secretary-General in these respects and the fostering of a preventative culture.

We support the efforts to sharpen the tools of the UN in peace-keeping operations, especially its capacity in fast-deployment and strategic preparedness, as well as its capacity to fully mobilize regional organizations and their resources under the leading role of the Security Council.

China is in favor of setting up a Peace-building Commission to coordinate more effectively UN efforts in peace-keeping, post-conflict rehabilitation and development. In this respect, the ECOSOC and other development aid agencies should have an important role to play in the Commission.

It is our consistent position to oppose the use or threat of force in international relations. We do not support the reinterpretation or revision of the provisions in the UN Charter relating to the right of self-defense. Should the occasion rise that calls for the use of force, it is the Security Council that should make sensible judgment and prudent decision on the merits of the situation.

The international community should continue pressing ahead with the international process on arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation, safeguard and enhance the authority and effectiveness of the existing multilateral treaties, give full scope to the role of the UN and other international organizations in terms of non-proliferation and seek solutions to related issues by political and diplomatic means.

The UN should cope more effectively with non-traditional security threats. We welcome the comprehensive strategy on counter-terrorism proposed by the Secretary-General and wish to see early conclusion of a comprehensive convention on international terrorism, taking full account of the concerns of various parties, developing countries in particular.

In the endeavor to reduce and prevent large-scale humanitarian crises, the international community should strictly observe the UN Charter, respect the opinions of the countries or organizations concerned, and explore, to the maximum extent, peaceful settlement within the UN framework and with the authorization of the Security Council. We are against any willful intervention on the ground of rash conclusion that a nation is unable or unwilling to protect its own citizens.

Mr. President,

Development should be the mainstream of the UN reform. Although China is a low-income developing country, it is ready to contribute as much as it can to the international cooperation for development. As President Hu Jintao announced at the Summit, China will take substantive steps in five areas. We will join hands with all of you to push forward reforms in the area of development so as to facilitate the resolution of issues concerning development.

The United Nations should put in place a fair and rational MDGs review framework to evaluate progress made in various countries and monitor the follow-up of international cooperation and aid commitments. We support the coordinating role of ECOSOC in development-related areas.

The Doha Round should embody development in its theme, pay more attention to and take actions to address the concerns of developing countries, particularly those about agricultural produce and "special and differential treatment". China has decided to grant zero-tariff treatment to some commodities from 39 LDCs, which will cover the majority of China's imports from those countries.

China is in favor of incorporating the prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS and the building of the public health sector into the development programs and activities of various countries and the United Nations. We are going to submit to this Session a draft on "strengthening global capacity building on public health". In the coming three years, we plan to provide more aid and medicine to developing countries for preventing and treating malaria and other communicable diseases and help them establish and reform their public health systems and train medical personnel.

The international community, its developed members in particular, should take substantive steps to help its developing members to break the vicious circle of debt, such as substantial reduction of debts, streamlining procedures and reducing conditions for debt relief. In the coming two years, China will write off or cancel in other ways all interest-free or low-interest government loans which the poor and heavily-indebted countries having diplomatic relations with China have failed to repay in due time by the end of 2004.

We would call on the United Nations to give priority to assisting the developing countries in strengthening their capacity building. China will help the developing countries train 30,000 people for various professions in the coming three years.

My country is also in favor of setting a timetable for ODA from developed countries to reach 0.7% of their GDP. New ways of fund-raising should be explored so as to put more funds in development.

China pledges US$10 billion of concessional loans to developing countries in the next 3 years within the framework of South-South cooperation.

Mr. President,

The Charter of the United Nations bestows upon the Security Council the primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security. A highly efficient, responsible and representative Security Council serves the long-term interests of the United Nations and the common interests of all its member states.

China supports the reform of the Security Council aimed to strengthen its authority and efficiency and improve its working methods. Representation of developing countries, particularly the African countries should be increased so that small and medium-sized countries will have more say in the decision-making of the Council. No reform proposal can work that only addresses the concerns of a few countries in disregard of the interests of the majority of countries and treats unfairly developing countries in Africa and other parts of the world.

China supports the principle of cooperation based on democratic consultation. As the reform bears on the future of the United Nations and the interests of various parties, there should be no artificial timeframe or forced voting. Instead, the member states should seek consensus through dialogue and consultation and in accordance with the principle of democratic international relations.

China embraces a spirit of unity and cooperation. The UN family has 191 members. Unity is the source of strength. We want unity, not division. As long as member states respect each other's interests, accommodate each other's concerns and show pragmatism and flexibility, we will be able to find a reform path acceptable to all.

Mr. President,

This current Session should give focus on Africa. African countries take up a quarter of the UN membership and their population accounts for 13% of the world's total. If there is no stability in Africa, the world would have no peace. If Africa remains poor, there would be no development for the world. The Declaration of the Summit calls for efforts to meet the special needs of Africa. I think this is correct and necessary.

Despite gratifying progress in Africa in recent years, conflicts in some of its regions have persisted. The Security Council should pay special attention to African problems and give them the priority on its agenda. This does not only mean devoting more meetings to African issues at the Council, but, more importantly, taking concrete actions to heed the voice of Africa, respect its views and accommodate its concerns.

China applauds the mediation and good offices of the African Union and other regional organizations to try to settle conflicts in Africa. We support close cooperation between the Security Council and those organizations, by providing them funds, logistics and technical assistance to strengthen their peace-keeping and post-war reconstruction capacities.

African countries are confronted with difficulties in the area of development, particularly in attaining the MDGs. Over 300 million people are still living under the poverty line. One third of the children are malnourished. More than 30 million people are suffering from HIV/AIDS. With less than 2% of the world's economic aggregate, Africa is weighed down by debts amounting to US$300 billion. All this poses a challenge to the conscience of mankind.

The international community should reach global consensus on African development and help the Continent realize the MDGs on schedule by implementing the New Partnership for African Development(NEPAD). Assistance must be wholehearted and respect the right of African countries to make their own decisions. It must also have a clear aim, i.e. to meet the fundamental and long-term needs of the African people. Assistance is by no means alms or gifts conferred on the recipients. Instead, it is an answer to the call of reality for mutual benefit and common development. Furthermore, it is our moral duty to help the needy and redress injustices.

Fellow Colleagues,

The 20th Century is a century in which Africa shook off colonial rule and achieved national liberation. This was an epoch-making event. The 21st Century will bring peace and development to Africa. This is an irresistible historical trend. The Chinese people will continue to stand side by side with their African brothers and sisters on this journey of historic significance.

Mr. President,

The just concluded Six Party talks in Beijing on the nuclear issue of the Korean Peninsula has achieved important consensus and released a Joint Statement. This symbolizes a significant step forward for the talks and is attributable to the political commitment and hard work of all parties involved. It also reflects the common aspiration of the international community. This result should be cherished with special care as it did not come by easily.

We hope that all parties can continue to work together to move forward the process of Six Party talks and seek a peaceful solution to this issue through dialogue so as to ensure long lasting peace and stability of the Peninsula and achieve common development and prosperity. The Chinese Government will continue to make active contributions to this end.

Thank you, Mr. President.

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