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Statement by Minister Counsellor Yao Shaojun at the General Debate of the Fourth Committee of 75th Session of the UN General Assembly

2020-10-23 09:54

Mr. Chairman,

The Chinese delegation congratulates you on your election as the Chair of the Fourth Committee. Please be assured of our full cooperation and support to your work. We are confident that under your able leadership, this session of the Fourth Committee will successfully complete its deliberation of all agenda items. Our thanks also go to the outgoing Bureau.

According to the Committee's new working mode, I would like to make the following points in today's general debate.

First, China firmly supports the Palestinian people. The Palestinian question remains at the core of the Middle East question. Recently, new developments that unfolded in the Middle East have given rise to new circumstances pertaining to this issue. China is pleased to see measures that are conducive to easing tensions among original states and promoting regional peace and stability, and call for continued global efforts to move forward the Middle East peace process. Any solution to the Palestinian question should be informed of the positions of the main parties concerned, especially those of the Palestinian side, and heed the call of regional countries and organizations. Such a solution should be reached through equal-footed talks.

China's position on the Palestinian question is consistent and clear. We firmly stand with the Palestinian people in their just cause to restore their national rights and interests which are legitimate rights and interests, and build an independent state. Our position is to move in the right direction of a two state solution, and toward a comprehensive, just and durable solution to the Palestinian question at an early date in accordance with international consensus and parameters as set out in relevant UN resolutions, land for for peace, and the Arab Peace Initiative.

COVID-19 has dealt a heavy blow to the socioeconomic development in Palestine and worsened the humanitarian crisis there. China applauds UNRWA for the delivery of education, health care and other basic services to more than 5 million Palestinian refugees, which has helped safeguard their rights and dignity. This year, in particular in the face of the twin challenges of a severe fiscal crisis and COVID-19, the agency has gone out to conduct its work with positive outcomes achieved that deserves a thumbs up from the international community.

Over the course of this year, China has sent multiple shipments of antivirus supplies and teams of medical experts to Palestine. We have donated funds to the agency and, through it, provided PPEs to Palestine, as well as Palestinian refugees living in Jordan, Lebanon and Syria. As a true friend of the Palestinian people, China will continue to do everything it can to assist Palestine, in its COVID-19 response, economic development and improvement of livelihoods. And we will be working hard to facilitate a settlement to this question.

Second, China is a staunch supporter of UN peacekeeping operations. The sudden outbreak of COVID-19 has not only created huge uncertainties for conflict affected countries, but has also hit hard on UNPKOs. UN member states must remain united, properly address the negative effects of COVID-19 on PKOs and continue to implement the A4P initiative. Ensuring the safety and security of peacekeeping personnel should be a top priority. Although there can be no absolute zero security risks in peacekeeping, every effort must be made to minimize security risks and reduce unnecessary sacrifices. Security Council resolution 2518 must be effectively implemented. Strengthening partnerships is the key to improving PKOs. China supports the UN in providing sustained and predictable funding support to AU-led peace operations. As a major troop contributor and the second largest contributor to UN peacekeeping budget, China has so far participated in 26 UN peacekeeping missions with a cumulative personnel deployment of more than 40,000. we have brought greater confidence and hope for peace and development to conflict regions and have made positive contributions to the maintenance of world peace and promotion of shared development.

Third, China firmly supports the cause of decolonization. As we enter the last year of the third international decade for the eradication of colonialism, decolonization remains an unfinished business. Although due to COVID-19, the regular session of C24 did not take place as scheduled, the topic of decolonization should be placed high on our agenda. China consistently supports the people of the non-self-governing territories in their struggle for the right of self determination and urges administering powers to take effective measures to ensure development of the local economy, society, culture and education, and at the same time, protect local natural resources and environment. It is imperative to stop militarizing these territories and to investigate and compensate for the disastrous consequences caused by nuclear testing, among others. China will continue to support and participate in the work of the Fourth Committee and C24, and will, in close cooperation with other member states, push for more progress in decolonization with the ultimate goal of fulfilling the historical mission as set out in the UN Charter and the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples.

China supports Argentina's sovereignty claim over the Malvinas islands and hopes that the parties concerned will peacefully resolve their differences through dialogue and negotiation in accordance with relevant UN resolutions, and arrive at a mutually acceptable and durable political settlement.

Fourth, China firmly supports the UN information activities. To fight COVID-19, complete, truthful, accurate and scientific information is of critical importance to the public. Since the beginning of the year, the UN has come up with an effective communication strategy by deploying modern means of ICTs and deepening dialogue and cooperation with all sectors. Efforts have been made to counter the negative effect caused by fake news and rhetoric of discrimination hatred and racism. All this has helped forge international consensus and produced positive results. China hopes that the UN will continue to work closely with Member States, counter the erroneous rhetoric aimed at politicization and stigmatization of COVID-19, and advocate the spirit of unity, science and seeking truth from facts. Moreover, the UN should fully utilize these multi-lingual platforms to rally global audience to support the UN, the WHO and the international community in forging unity and working together to fight the pandemic, spread the values of people first and lives first, and build a community with a shared future in health through concrete actions.

Fifth, China is committed to the peaceful uses of outer space. COVID-19 has not put on hold activities of exploration and uses of outer space. Deep space exploration, internet of satellites, and other emerging outer space activities have continued to make progress. Space applications such as satellite remote sensing have provided technical support in the prevention and control of COVID-19. Against this backdrop, it is important to uphold multilateralism and fully utilize the potential of COPUOS as the main platform for international cooperation and rules-making in the field of peaceful uses of outer space. Although due to COVID-19, the 63rd session of COPUOS and 59th session of its legal subcommittee were not held as scheduled. The work of COPUOS remains highly relevant. China hopes that the new working group on long-term sustainability of outer space activities will be up and running as early as possible and that Space 2030 agenda will be unveiled soon. We are in favor of holding informal consultations on legal issues involved in the development of space resources. China remains committed to the peaceful uses of outer space and is ready to continue to work with other countries, with a view to promoting peaceful uses of outer space as a driver for sustainable socioeconomic development.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

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