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Vice Foreign Minister Luo Zhaohui Attends the Colloquium on International Law in the Changing World: The Role of Developing Countries

2019/07/29

On July 29, 2019, the Colloquium on International Law in the Changing World: The Role of Developing Countries was held in Beijing. State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi sent a congratulatory letter to the colloquium. Vice Foreign Minister Luo Zhaohui attended the opening ceremony of the colloquium, read Wang Yi's congratulatory letter and delivered a speech. The opening ceremony was chaired by Director-General of the Department of Treaty and Law of the Foreign Ministry Jia Guide.

Luo Zhaohui expressed, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi's congratulatory letter elaborates the significance of the colloquium and provides important guidance for the following discussions. Today's world is full of hope but also faces severe challenges. Some certain countries ignore international law and norms governing international relations. They pursue unilateralism and protectionism, seek bullying, interference and unilateral sanctions and provoke trade wars everywhere. These practices have given rise to turmoil in the world. The turbulence in the world does not mean that international law has been out of date, nor been useless. Instead, it reminds us once again of the importance of abiding by international law. Formulating and abiding by rules is the right approach for countries to handling relations with each other, while seeking bullying and power will be doomed to failure. The vital experience the world draws from history is that we must safeguard the international system with the United Nations (UN) as its core and the international order based on international law and we should abandon the old-fashioned thinking that the strong do what they want and the weak suffer what they must. It meets the aspirations of people from various countries and is the only way for human progress.

Luo Zhaohui said, for the past seven decades since its founding, the People's Republic of China has all along been a staunch defender and builder of international law. President Xi Jinping put forth the crucial thought on building a community with a shared future for mankind and called on all countries to make joint efforts to build an open, inclusive, clean and beautiful world that enjoys lasting peace, universal security, and common prosperity. Safeguarding international law and following international law on each matter is the way it should be and it is an important approach to turn the vision into reality. Building a community with a shared future for mankind has been included in the Constitution of China, which embodies China's solemn commitment to firmly following the path of peaceful development and safeguarding international law.

Luo Zhaohui reviewed the solidarity and cooperation among developing countries and the historical contributions developing countries have made to enriching the principles of international law and facilitating the development of international law in areas including ocean, environment and human rights. He pointed out that if hegemony and power prevail again, the world will be once again plunged into chaos where no country can stay immune, and the developing countries are more likely to be the victims, first and foremost. Developing countries make up two thirds of the UN member states and take up 40 percent of the global economy, therefore they have greater force and responsibility to uphold justice and safeguard rules together.

Luo Zhaohui noted, as one of the developing countries, China is willing to intensify cooperation with other developing countries, safeguard the international system with the UN as its core and the international order based on international law, to lead the world to a brighter future. First, we need to adhere to multilateralism in the formulation of international rules. We should increase the representation and voice of developing countries so that the formulation of international law will reflect the most extensive demands and interests in a balanced and inclusive way and will generally be supported and observed. Second, we need to promote the observation of international law in real earnest. We should safeguard the basic principles established in the UN Charter and uphold the rules-based multilateral trading system with the World Trade Organization as the core. We should fulfill our obligations in good faith and oppose double standard and the practice of applying international law in a selective way. Third, we need to uphold international law and safeguard fairness and justice as well as facilitate the core value for peaceful development and cooperation. We should oppose the distortion and abuse of international law, oppose the practice of hegemony or power on the pretext of international law, and oppose using international rule of law to instigate disagreement and exacerbate differences and conflicts.

Wang Yi's congratulatory letter was warmly received. Experts from various countries present at the colloquium noted, the congratulatory letter conveyed China's clear stance on upholding multilateralism and safeguarding international fairness and justice. In a world where China's international status and influence keeps rising and the international political and economic landscape has been undergoing profound adjustments, China's unequivocal adherence to international law has encouraged the developing countries, and carries great significance for the future of the world. In his speech, Vice Foreign Minister Luo Zhaohui advocated safeguarding the international system with the UN as its core and the international order based on international law and put forward specific cooperation initiatives, which is highly relevant for developing countries to jointly deal with the challenges of unilateralism and hegemony.

The colloquium was co-organized by the Foreign Ministry and Chinese Society of International Law. President of the International Court of Justice Abdulqawi Ahmed Yusuf attended the colloquium and delivered a keynote speech. Over 300 participants including legal officers and representatives from embassies in China from over 80 countries, and representatives from international organizations including the UN, the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, the International Committee of the Red Cross and the Asian-African Legal Consultative Organization as well as domestic and foreign experts, were present. They had in-depth discussions on the current international order, the challenges facing international law and the role of developing countries in aspects such as safeguarding international law and shaping international order.

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