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Statement by Ambassador Liu Zhenmin at the 61st UNGA Session on Agenda Item 18: "Necessity of ending the economic, commercial and financial embargo imposed against Cuba"

Madam President,

Each year for 14 consecutive years, the General Assembly adopts the relevant resolution urging all countries, in compliance with the UN Charter and the principles of international law, to repeal or invalidate all laws and measures with extraterritorial effect that compromise the sovereignty of other States, undermine the legitimate rights and interests of entities and persons under the jurisdiction of those states and affect the freedom of trade and navigation. Regrettably, today, the economic, commercial and financial embargo against Cuba is still in place.

In this age of globalization, exchanges and cooperation on an equal footing among countries represent the trend of our times. Normal economic, commercial and financial ties among countries are in the interest of all countries and are by no means a favor given by any one country to others. Dialogue on an equal footing is the best way to resolve any difference.

For more than 40 years, embargo and sanctions against Cuba have been carried out under the pretext of "promoting democracy, freedom and human rights in Cuba". But what are the realities? First, the practice of attempting to force another country to give up its independently chosen path of development, even to overthrow its government, through embargo and sanctions constitutes a violation of the purposes and principles of the UN Charter and the basic norms governing the contemporary international relations. This kind of practice has nothing to do with promoting democracy and freedom. Secondly, the embargo and sanctions imposed against Cuba are extra-territorial in nature, and are therefore in violation of the international law and the principles, objectives and rules of international trade. They also run counter to the principle of trade liberalization. Thirdly, the embargo and sanctions against Cuba have seriously obstructed and constrained the efforts of the Cuban people to eradicate poverty, improve their living standard, and achieve economic and social development. The embargo and sanctions pose a grave threat to the enjoyment by the Cuban people of the rights to life and to development.

Facts have proven that the 40-odd-years of embargo and sanctions against Cuba not only harmed the interests of Cuba and other countries, thus seriously hampering development efforts at the international level; but also go against the principles of democracy, freedom, rule of law and human rights, thus completely defeating the policy goals claimed by the country concerned. While bringing harm to others, they do not benefit the imposer itself either.

Madam. President,

The Chinese Government always adheres to the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, advocates sovereign equality of States and non-interference in each other's internal affairs, and endeavors to promote democracy and rule of law in international relations. We believe that countries should, in light of their specific national conditions, choose their own political, economic, and social systems and the mode of development. We are of the view that differences and disputes between states should be solved through dialogue and cooperation on the basis of equality and mutual respect.

In view of the above, the Chinese Government resolutely opposes the economic, commercial and financial embargo and sanctions imposed against Cuba. It is our hope that the country concerned will take concrete actions, engage in dialogue instead of confrontation, carry out contacts and exchanges instead of embargo and sanctions, and implement the relevant UN resolutions without delay. China therefore supports the draft resolution submitted by Cuba under the current agenda item.

Thank you, Madam President.

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