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Toward Peace and Development for All


Speech by Wang Yi

Minister of Foreign Affairs of the People's Republic of China

At the General Debate of

The 72nd Session of the United Nations General Assembly


Mr. President,
Mr. Secretary-General,
Dear Colleagues,

The theme of this year's General Assembly session, "Focusing on people: striving for peace and decent life for all on a sustainable planet", is a most relevant one, especially for an organization that has made exceptional contribution to peace and development of mankind.

This organization has been upholding peace as its mission. By setting up a collective security mechanism, defusing regional hotspots and deploying peacekeepers, the United Nations has proved instrumental in preventing full-scale wars and securing over seven decades of relative peace for mankind.

This organization has been pursuing development as its goal. By setting a global development agenda and mobilizing resources worldwide, the United Nations has helped a great number of developing countries get on the fast track of development that will lead billions of people to modernization.

Mr. President,

Dear Colleagues,

The noble ideals of the UN are yet to be attained, and countries must make continued efforts toward those ideals:

We live in an era that is defined by a deepening trend toward a multi-polar world, the collective rise of emerging markets and developing countries, steady progress in globalization and IT application, and an exciting new round of revolution in science and technology. In mankind's pursuit of greater development and prosperity, there are great opportunities like never before.

We live in a world that is witnessing profound changes in the international landscape and balance of power, prominent traditional and non-traditional threats, insufficient driving force for global growth and a growing backlash against globalization. There are unprecedented challenges for mankind's pursuit of lasting peace and sustainable development.

We are once again at a crossroads. It is time to make the right choice between peace and war, between openness and seclusion, and between unity and division.

Two years ago at this very podium, Chinese President Xi Jinping called on us to foster a new type of international relations featuring win-win cooperation and to build a community of shared future for mankind. That is a great vision proposed by President Xi based on his full grasp of the prevailing trend of our times. It is also China's answer to what kind of future mankind should build. This vision, consistent with the purposes of the UN and the aspiration of its member states, has received extensive understanding and support from the international community. As such, it has become a goal of our common endeavor.

Mr. President,

Dear Colleagues,

To ensure peace, development and dignity for all, the UN spirit must be renewed and its work must set out from a new starting point. To fulfill this task,

- The UN must remain the guardian of world peace. Upholding peace and security is one of the core purposes of the UN Charter and the primary mission of this organization. The UN must encourage all its members to "live together in peace with one another as good neighbors", and achieve common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security.

The five permanent members of the UN Security Council must play an exemplary role in upholding no-conflict, no-confrontation, mutual respect and win-win cooperation. All UN members should treat each other as equals and choose dialogue over confrontation and partnership over alliance. In state-to-state relations, credibility and justice must be upheld, and efforts must be made to find common ground, manage differences, and seek peaceful and reasonable settlement to disputes.

In fighting terrorism, we need a holistic approach that addresses both symptoms and root causes. We need to abide by law and avoid applying double standards. One must not associate terrorism with any particular ethnic group or religion. The UN needs to spearhead and coordinate efforts to build a global united front against terrorism.

Political solution is the fundamental answer to hotspot issues. While parties to any conflict must stay committed to the general direction of dialogue and negotiation, the international community should act in an objective and impartial way to facilitate dialogue and promote peace rather than stirring up trouble or making things more difficult. The UN should serve as the main channel of conflict prevention, fully leverage Chapter VI of its Charter, and step up political mediation efforts.

The Syrian crisis has seen the early light of a political settlement. We should make good use of the Geneva and Astana channels and push for direct substantive talks between the Syrian government and the opposition. In parallel with the talks, efforts must be made on cessation of hostilities, humanitarian assistance and post-war reconstruction in order to give the various parties greater faith in peace talks.

The Palestine issue has been stuck on the UN agenda for 70 years. The international community owes the Palestinians a just solution that is long overdue. All settlement activities on the occupied territories and all violence against civilians must be stopped immediately. Efforts should be made to steadfastly advance political settlement based on the two-state solution and to restart peace talks as early as possible. We need to think out of the box to facilitate peace through development and help the people in the region to lay the groundwork for peace.

The situation on the Korean Peninsula is the focal point of international attention. It was September 19th the day before yesterday. On that date twelve years ago, the Six Party Talks issued "the September 19th Joint Statement". Back then, under the auspices of China and through the concerted efforts of the six parties of China, the US, Russia, the DPRK, the ROK and Japan, the US and the DPRK, as the main parties involved, made the political decision and we drafted a roadmap of denuclearization for the Peninsula. In that Joint Statement, the DPRK committed to abandoning all nuclear weapon development, the US and others undertook to normalize their relations with the DPRK, and the parties committed to the establishment of a permanent peace mechanism on the Peninsula. The Statement was a blessing to regional peace and stability and brought hope for a peaceful solution.

As twelve years have passed, some may think that the changed situation on the Korean Peninsula today has rendered the Joint Statement irrelevant. But we believe that things in keeping with the trend of the times will never become outdated and decisions on the right side of history will never become obsolete. If anything has changed, it is the greater need now for more comprehensive, more thorough and more irreversible denuclearization. Be it the North or South of the Korean Peninsula, be it northeast Asia or elsewhere,this planet shall see no more nuclear state.

We urge the DPRK not to go any further in the dangerous direction. We call on the US to truly honor its four nos commitment toward the DPRK, and we urge all relevant parties to play a constructive role in easing tensions. There is still hope for peace, and we must not give up. Negotiation is the only way out and deserves all-out efforts. Parties should meet each other half way by addressing each other's legitimate concerns. China believes that the day when the Peninsula is denuclearized should also be the day when its peace mechanism is established.

China has always been a force for peace. We have made unremitting efforts for peaceful resolution of the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula. No matter how the situation evolves, no matter how long it takes, and no matter what difficulties lie ahead, China will remain committed to the goal of denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula, stick to the direction of dialogue and negotiation and firmly uphold regional peace and stability.

- The UN must remain a champion of international development. The implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development should be the UN's top priority in the field of development. It is important to encourage member states to seek complementarity between the Agenda and their own development strategies, eliminate hunger and poverty and leave no one behind. We must ensure equitable and inclusive quality education and lifelong learning opportunities for all. We need to enhance the role of North-South cooperation as the main channel for international development cooperation while leveraging the important role of South-South cooperation.

Climate change bears on the sustainable development of mankind. It is crucial that the UN continues to work on the follow-ups to the Paris Agreement and urges all parties to uphold the principles of "common but differentiated responsibilities", equity and respective capabilities and to strengthen international climate cooperation.

The refugee issue has its origin in regional instability and uneven development. The UN must make quick response to the crisis by easing the humanitarian plight. But more importantly, it must make greater efforts to address the root causes by helping the countries and regions concerned to develop.

The recovery and growth of the global economy remains an arduous task. The UN should encourage all parties to promote trade and investment liberalization and facilitation, and build an open world economy. It is important that we seize the opportunities presented by the new round of scientific and technological revolution, stay committed to reform, pursue innovation-driven development, find new space for development and foster a new system for development.

- The UN must remain a pacesetter of global governance. As an organization lying at the core of the contemporary international system, the UN can well reflect the state of affairs in global governance. It should therefore follow the trend of the times and make international relations more democratic, rules-based and equitable.

The UN is an organization belonging to all its 193 member states who, regardless of their size and wealth, are all equals. The UN should promote such spirit of democracy and make sure that all countries enjoy equal rights and opportunities and follow the same rules in international affairs. This way, countries can set international rules together, run global affairs together, and share in development achievements together. At the same time, the UN also needs to constantly improve its institutions and mechanisms to better reflect the interests of the majority of countries and the evolving international landscape.

The UN must promote equal and uniform application of international law and stress the need to fully and faithfully implement international law. More importantly, the UN should urge all parties to observe the purposes and principles of its Charter and keep the foundation of international law and order intact.

Globalization is an unstoppable trend. It is neither "Westernization" nor "Easternization". It should not follow the law of the jungle, still less the winner-takes-all approach. The UN should uphold the principle of extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits and rebalance economic globalization so that it will be more open, inclusive, and beneficial to all.

- The UN must remain a facilitator of exchanges between civilizations. It is the diversity of civilizations that gives our global village its vitality. We should raise awareness about its importance and be more than willing to respect, protect and promote such diversity.

Civilizations can complement each other in the course of seeking common ground. They can also make progress together through exchanges and mutual learning. We should encourage different civilizations, cultures and countries to flourish together through interactions and healthy competition. In this regard, the UNESCO and the UN Alliance of Civilizations have a big role to play.

We should encourage and respect the efforts of countries to choose development paths that suit their national conditions. Countries with different systems and paths should respect and learn from each other to achieve common progress. The UN should serve as a platform for harmonious co-existence between countries with different systems and a bridge for dialogue and exchange.

Mr. President,

Dear Colleagues,

The past five years have witnessed a momentous journey for China. Under the leadership of the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core, China has made remarkable achievements on all fronts and the socialism with Chinese characteristics has entered a new development stage. Looking ahead, China's continuous progress will bring to the world greater benefits of peace, development and governance.

- China is an anchor of world peace. Sustained stability of a country with over 1.3 billion people is an enormous contribution to world peace. Aggression is never in the genes of the Chinese, and acts of colonializing or plundering others are nowhere to be found in China's track record. President Xi has solemnly pledged that no matter how advanced it gets in development, China will never seek hegemony, expansion or sphere of influence. China will always vote for peace at the Security Council.

- China is an engine for development and prosperity. The Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation China successfully hosted last May has produced more than 270 cooperation deliverables. China wants to build the Belt and Road into a road of peace, prosperity, openness and innovation that connects different civilizations. This project of the century will offer a new paradigm for efforts to promote world peace and development. It will also inject fresh impetus to the pursuit of the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. Starting from next year, China will host the China International Import Expo. We will make greater strides in opening-up and provide new driving forces for the global economy.

- China is a champion of multilateralism. It firmly upholds the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity of countries, and the centrality of the UN in international affairs. No matter how the international landscape may change, China will stay firmly committed to multilateralism. It will shoulder its responsibilities assigned by the UN and fulfill its due obligations to the world.

Mr. President,

Dear Colleagues,

The Communist Party of China will soon convene its 19th National Congress in Beijing. It will be a very important meeting held at a time when China reaches a decisive stage of completing the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects and a key phase in the development of socialism with Chinese characteristics. It will open a new chapter in the pursuit of the Chinese dream of great national renewal. China will seek to realize its own dream in the context of the shared aspirations of all people around the world, and continue to contribute to the development of all other countries through its own progress. Let us work together for a brighter future of mankind.

Thank you.

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