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Remarks by Ambassador Geng Shuang at the UN General Assembly Emergency Special Session on Ukraine

2022-11-14 12:50

Mr President,

China allies itself with the statement made by Eritrea on behalf of a group of like-minded countries.

Mr. President,

Remedy and reparation is an important way to deliver justice, offer consolation and promote reconstruction after wars and conflicts. Victimized by numerous foreign aggressions in the modern history, China has endured immense losses. We empathize with the heartbreaks of war victims, and sympathize with their misery. Meanwhile, China believes that remedy and reparation should be achieved through correct political means and legal proceedings which embody international will, fairness and justice, and the humanitarian spirit. Useful practices of the Security Council and the General Assembly in this regard can provide important reference for similar actions by the international community.

Regrettably, the draft resolution on remedy and reparation submitted for actions of the Emengency Special Session of the General Assembly has obvious flaws and loopholes and does not conform to China’s position and proposition. I wish to share the following three observations.

First, the draft resolution intends to address the issue of international legal responsibility directly through the General Assembly, thereby overstepping GA’s authority. The Charter of the United Nations clearly stipulates the mandates of the principal organs of the UN. The General Assembly is not an international judicial body, thus has no right to legally define and hold accountable for internationally wrongful acts. The resolutions previously adopted by the 11th Emergency Special Session of the General Assembly do not constitute solid legal basis for remedy and reparation.

Second, the draft resolution intends to invoke the Articles on the Responsibility of States for Internationally Wrongful Acts to pursue accountability, thus lacking legal basis. The afore-mentioned Articles is an research product of the International Law Commission, an expert body. It is not an inter-governmental treaty and not legally binding. Neither do the Articles provide legal norms to define an internationally wrongful act or determine whether such an act exists. Hence, it is not appropriate to cite the Articles to make legal determination and pursue accountability.

Third, the draft resolution intends to bless the creation, by some countries, of a mechanism for reparation and a register of damage outside the UN framework, thus deviating from the normal practice. The above mentioned mechanisms proposed by some countries are not in the framework of the UN, not overseen by the UN, and do not report to the UN. Nevertheless, the General Assembly is requested to adopt a resolution specifically for their creation. This approach makes no sense and has no precedent in practice.

It should also be pointed out that the issue of remedy and reparation is of great importance and far reaching implications. It concerns peace and security on the one hand, justice and conscience on the other. It concerns not only political correctness, but also international rule of law. It concerns both current situation and historical injustice. Countries in the world victimized by internationally wrongful acts such as colonialism, external interference, unilateral sanctions and economic blockade have the right to seek remedy and reparation. The action taken by the General Assembly today should help to provide correct guidance for the settlement of possible future claims of relevant countries for remedy and reparation. It should help to maintain the impartial image of the UN that treats all member states equally. It should help to ensure various UN bodies can work according to their respective mandates.

Such an important draft resolution should go through full discussion and extensive consultation by member states to build consensus and bridge differences as much as possible, so as to ensure that it can stand the test of history politically, legally and procedurally. Regrettably, the sponsor states did not organize consultations in earnest, did not substantively respond to the concerns of member states, and instead insisted on pushing the General Assembly to take a hasty action which is totally unconstructive.

Based on the above, to upload the authority of the UN Charter and the credibility of the General Assembly, to safeguard true multilateralism and the spirit of solidarity and cooperation, and to maintain the international rule of law and fairness and justice, China will vote against the draft resolution.

Mr. President,

The Ukrainian crisis has lasted nearly nine months. It has sent shockwaves throughout the world and brought more uncertainty and instability to our already turbulent world. If the conflict goes longer, gets bigger, and becomes more complicated than it is already, it serves no parties’ interests, and especially the developing countries are going to bear the brunt. China once again calls all parties concerned to return to dialogue and negotiation as soon as possible, push this situation back to the right track of political settlement. The international community, including the General Assembly should work actively to this end, instead of intensifying tensions, provoking confrontation and aggravating divides.

Finally, I wish to reiterate that China’s position on the Ukraine issue is clear and consistent. We always maintain that the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries must be respected, the purposes and principles of the UN Charter must be fully observed, the legitimate security concerns of all countries must be taken seriously, and all efforts that are conducive to the peaceful settlement of the crisis must be supported. China is willing to continue to work with the international community and play a constructive role in promoting the early realization of ceasefire and cessation of hostilities, the easing of the situation, and the political settlement of the crisis.

Thank you, Mr. President.

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