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Remarks by Ambassador Geng Shuang at the General Debate of the Fourth Committee of the 76th Session of the UN General Assembly

2021-11-03 16:50

Madam Chair, 

The Chinese delegation congratulate you on your election as the chair of the Fourth Committee. We will actively support your work. We are confident that under your leadership, the Fourth Committee will successfully conclude its work for this current session. China also appreciates the previous Bureau for their work. Given the time limit, I'd like to focus my remarks on the following five agenda items during this general debate. 

First, on decolonization. Colonialism has wreaked havoc on the world, leaving behind the darkest page in the annals of human history. Back then, a few Western countries subjected their colonies to slavery, ethnic cleansing, and plundering of local resources and wealth, giving rise to appalling human tragedies and committing countless heinous crimes. Today, the colonial era is over. Yet, the legacy of colonialism is still poisoning the vast number of former colonies, hindering and restraining their development. Colonialism has lingered on, taking on new forms, like power politics and bullying practices with a vengeance.

The international community should seize the opportunity presented by the Fourth International Decade for the Eradication of Colonialism to jointly take stock of the scourge of colonialism, eliminate its pernicious legacy, safeguard international fairness and justice and promote a more just and rational international political and economic order. 

China supports the continued efforts to promote the decolonization process of the 17 non-self-governing territories and efforts by the people of these territories for the right to self-determination. We call on the administering governments to take effective measures to promote development, safeguard human rights, and protect the environment in these territories. 

We urge those countries that once pursued or benefited from colonial system to demonstrate political will, shoulder their historical burden of guilt, compensate for the negative consequences of colonialism, and refrain from pursuing colonial thinking in international relations that harms the interests of other countries. 

China supports Argentina’s legitimate sovereign claim over the Malvinas Islands, and always stands for the settlement of interstate territorial disputes through peace talks in accordance with the purposes and principles of the UN Charter. We hope that the UK will respond positively to Argentina’s request, and start dialogue and negotiation without delay, so as to find a peaceful, just and lasting solution in accordance with relevant UN resolutions. 

Second, on the question of Palestine. The question of Palestine lies at the heart of the Middle East issue. At the end of the day, a long-term solution should be sought on the basis of the two-state solution. The current humanitarian and security situation in the occupied Palestinian territory remains grim. Israel should further open Gaza ports to facilitate the entry of humanitarian supplies and reconstruction materials. The expansion of settlements and the demolition of Palestinian houses should stop. The safety of the people in the occupied territories should be guaranteed. The historical status quo of the holy sites in Jerusalem should be maintained. 

UNRWA is vital to guaranteeing such basic services as education and medical care for over 5 million Palestinian refugees. The international community should scale up its political and financial support for the agency. 

As a sincere friend of the Palestinian people, China supports Palestine’s just cause for national rights and supports the establishment of a fully sovereign and independent Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital. We will continue to work with all parties to promote an early, comprehensive, rational and just settlement of the Palestinian question, and an early, lasting peace between Palestine and Israel and in the region.

Third, on peacekeeping operations. UN’s peacekeeping operations is an important instrument for maintaining international peace and security. China firmly supports UN peacekeeping operations and advocates political solution of hotspot issues as the core objective for peacekeeping, and accordingly formulating clear, feasible and focused mandates. It is essential to adhere to the basic principles of peacekeeping to respect the sovereignty of countries concerned and expand consultation and coordination with TCCs. It's necessary to strengthen peacekeeping capacity building, conduct targeted skills training, and improve missions’ ability to cope with complex situations. It’s imperative to ensure the safety and security of peacekeepers, strengthen risk assessment in light of the realities facing each mission, factor in peacekeepers’ safety across all aspects of decision making, and take practical measures. 

As a major TCC and the second largest financial contributor, China has participated in 26 UN peacekeeping operations, cumulatively sending over 45,000 peacekeepers. This year, China donated 300,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines to peacekeepers as a concrete action to safeguard peace and protect the blue helmets. As the chair of the Group of Friends on the Safety and Security of UN Peacekeepers, China will work with the other 53 members for substantial progress on the safety and security of peacekeepers. China will convene the Group of Friends this month to discuss the security of peacekeeping camps. 

Fourth, on the impact of atomic radiation. Atomic radiation has a wide and far reaching impact on the earth environment, human health and biodiversity. China supports the work of the UN Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation and supports the committee in promoting countries’ earnest fulfillment of their obligations in areas of non-proliferation, nuclear security and nuclear safety. 

The Fukushima nuclear accident is one of the most serious nuclear accidents the world has ever seen. The disposal of the nuclear contaminated water in Fukushima bears on public health, the marine environment and sustainable development. In April this year, the Japanese Government, without exhausting all means available for safe disposal, without fully disclosing relevant information, and without adequately consulting with stakeholders, including its neighboring countries, unilaterally decided to discharge the contaminated water into the sea, which has aroused widespread doubt and opposition from the Pacific Rim countries and the Japanese public. The international community has raised many concerns about the rationale and the scientific nature of Japan's decision, and about the credibility of the data underpinning the decision and the reliability of the purification equipment involved. There is a general apprehension that the discharge will cause incalculable damage to human health, fishery, aquaculture, the global environment and biodiversity. China hopes that the scientific committee will uphold an objective, impartial, science-based and responsible approach in conducting a comprehensive assessment of the disposal, and come up with sound recommendations. We expect the IAEA to step up consultations with all parties, monitor and review the entire disposal process and ensure absolute safety.

Fifth, on multilingualism. Multilingualism is one of the core values of the UN, and an important driver for enhanced mutual understanding and solidarity. China hopes that the UN will uphold and deliver on multilingualism and effectively eliminate the inequality and imbalance in the use of English and other official languages. Chinese, as the most widely used mother tongue the world, crystallizes the wisdom of the Chinese civilization, and is the shared wealth of humankind. We hope that the UN will enhance allocation of resources and manpower to the Chinese language communication platforms, enrich Chinese language information products, and make the message of the UN heard and read by more Chinese language users. 

Madam Chair, 

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the restoration of the lawful seat of the People's Republic of China in the United Nations. Over the past 50 years, China has put into action the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, and has become a builder of word peace, a contributor to global development, and a defender of international order. No matter how the international situation evolves, China’s support for the UN remains predictable, sustainable and reliable. We will continue our contribution to the just cause of the UN and the progress of humanity.

Thank you, Madam Chair.

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