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Remarks by Ambassador Geng Shuang at the Plenary Meeting of the General Assembly on agenda item 28, entitled “Elimination of Unilateral Extraterritorial Coercive Economic Measures as a Means of Political and Economic Compulsion”

2024-06-13 16:20


China thanks you for convening today’s debate. It is hoped that with this session, the international community can see with more clarity the great harms of unilateral coercive measures, reinforce the international consensus against UCMs, and strengthen the common aspirations of all in effectively responding to UCMs. China aligns itself with the statements delivered by Uganda on behalf of G77 and China and Venezuela on behalf of the Group of Friends in Defense of the UN Charter, and wishes to make five more points. 

First, UCMs are in flagrant contravention of the UN Charter and international law. The US, together with a minority of other states, without the authorization of the Security Council, proceeds from their own preferences and needs, and arbitrarily impose UCMs on other states. This is tantamount to placing its domestic legislation above international law and the national legislation of other states, challenging the authority of the Security Council, violating the principle of sovereign equality, intervening in other countries’ internal affairs, and disregarding the purposes and principles of the UN Charter. The US has even gone so far to push for the so-called secondary sanctions, forcing compliance from third states with its UCMs. This is doubling down on what was wrong in the first place, seriously undermining the basic principles of international law and international rule of law. 

Second, UCMs seriously impede the achievement of the SDGs. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development underscores the equal enjoyment by all states of the development dividends, and urges all countries to refrain from promulgating and implementing unilateral economic, financial, or trade measures that are contrary to the UN Charter and international law. However, the US and a few other countries have continued to capitalize on their hegemonic economic and financial power to frequently impose unilateral sanctions on other countries, seriously disrupting normal economic and trade cooperation among the countries concerned, gravely affecting the stability of the global production and supply chains, as well as food, energy, and financial security, and seriously undermining the world economic order and the efforts of the countries concerned to achieve SDGs.

 Third, UCMs are a nefarious tool to infringe upon the human rights of other countries. The US and a few other states speak of protecting human rights, but in practice abuse UCMs to the serious detriment of the peoples of the targeted countries their right to life, health, development, education, among other basic human rights. The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the negative impact of unilateral coercive measures on the enjoyment of human rights pointed out in her report that UCMs has led to a serious shortage of medicines, vaccines, and medical equipment in the countries targeted, and that it has led to a rise in mortality rate, leaving vulnerable groups such as women, children, the elderly, and the disabled in a particularly difficult situation. Every year UCMs persisted would lead to an adverse effect on life expectancy by 0.2 to 0.3 years. In Syria, Venezuela and Zimbabwe, unilateral sanctions have led to energy shortages, and people were having difficulty seeking medical care by car. 

Fourth, UCMs are a major driver of aggregating humanitarian crises in countries concerned. The comprehensive blockade on Cuba by the US, which has persisted for over six decades, and the US designation of Cuba as a so-called state sponsor of terrorism, have caused Cuba hundreds of billions of dollars in losses. The consequences are felt across all livelihood sectors and have led to a humanitarian catastrophe. The perennial unilateral sanctions against Syria have caused a serious shortage of heavy equipment and search and rescue instruments in its post earthquake response, and people were forced to dig literally with their bare hands through the rubble. Countless innocent civilians, including children, lost their lives because the rescue came too late. 

Finally, UCMs are an acute manifestation of hegemony and power politics. The US and a few other states abused their position of strength to weaponize and instrumentalize unilateral sanctions. The underlying logic they go by is the law of the jungle, whereby the strong are on the table and the weak are on the menu. The ultimate purpose is to maintain their monopolistic hegemony and an unjust and unreasonable international order manifested through the big bullying the small, the strong abusing the weak, and the rich oppressing the poor. The UCMs frequently imposed by the US and a few other countries in their foreign relations run counter to the historical trend of peaceful development and win-win cooperation, and are incompatible with the common call of a multipolar world, the practice of multilateralism, and the upholding of equity and justice. Moving against the tide of our times, such acts are bound to be crushed mercilessly by the wheels of history. 


For a long time, the international community have voiced their consistent and strong opposition to UCMs. The General Assembly has adopted biennial resolutions since 1989 on opposing unilateral economic measures as a means of political and economic coercion against developing countries, annual resolutions since 1992 on ending the economic commercial and financial embargo imposed by the US against Cuba, and annual resolutions since 1997 focusing on the negative impact of unilateral coercive measures on enjoyment of human rights. We appeal to the United States and a few other states to heed the just call of the international community and lift their UCMs fully and immediately. We appeal to Member States, the UN system, and other international organizations to support states under UCMs and help them mitigate their hardships. We call for heightened attention from the international community to the grave consequences of UCMs and joint opposition to these illegal practices. 

As an important member of the global south and a victim of UCMs, China has consistently stood on the side of equity and justice, on the side of multilateralism, and on the side of developing countries. We are committed to working with the international community to safeguard the international system with the UN at its core, the international order based on international law, and the basic norms of international relations based on the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, and to promoting the development of a more just and fairer global governance. 

Thank you, President.

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