|Remarks by Ambassador Zhang Jun at Security Council Briefing on Threats to International Peace and Security Caused by Terrorist Acts|
First of all, I would like to thank Under-Secretary-General Vladimir Voronkov and Acting Executive Director Chen Weixiong for their briefings. Their valuable analysis and inputs on the threats of terrorism should be carefully studied and considered by the Security Council in its future work.
Terrorism is the common enemy of mankind. Our fight against terrorism is a long-term one that requires comprehensive strategies and united actions. To this end, I would like to make the following four points.
First, every effort must be made to curb the new wave of terrorism. ISIS is still active in regions such as Iraq, Syria, and Libya, and is spreading at a faster pace in many parts of Africa. In Afghanistan, the withdrawal of foreign troops has created a vacuum in the security situation, and such chaos has provided an opportunity for terrorist forces to expand their presence. We hoped the Taliban will fulfill relevant counter-terrorism commitments to prevent Afghanistan from again becoming the breeding ground of terrorism. We should note that the threat of terrorism remains grave and it is not the time for us to let our guards down. China supports the international community in continuing coordinated actions to combat terrorism in all its forms. Any slack in counter-terrorism, any appeasement or connivance of terrorism, and any act of politicizing counter-terrorism or using terrorist forces to seek geopolitical interest is the betrayal to the victims of terrorism, and has serious consequences and will eventually backfire.
Second, every effort must be made to prevent ISIS from colluding with affiliated terrorist organizations. The Secretary-General's report points out that ISIS continued to recruit from the East Turkestan Islamic Movement/Turkistan Islamic Party. China is deeply concerned about this. ETIM is a terrorist organization designated by the 1267 Committee of the Council. It has carried out many inhumane terrorist attacks in Xinjiang, China, resulting in mass casualties of innocent people. In recent years, this organization has spread and grown in Central Asia, South Asia, the Middle East and other regions. The report released by the monitoring group of the 1267 Committee earlier this month further points out that there are 1,000 to 3,000 ETIM/TIP fighters in Syria. They not only launched attacks on the ground, but also recruited, trained and sent terrorists for terrorist attacks in Central Asian countries and China. The ETIM fighters in Afghanistan even clamored to “return to Xinjiang for Jihad”. We call on the Security Council and the international community to pay close attention to the active and developing terrorist threats posed by ETIM/TIP to cut off its connection with ISIS and erase the space for it to breed and do harm.
Third, counter-terrorism operations must abide by international law and uphold the principle of protecting civilians. The lesson of the 20 years after 9/11 is that you cannot solely rely on military means to fight terrorism. The overuse of military force will not help eradicate terrorist threats. On the contrary, it may weaken the legitimacy and effectiveness of counter-terrorism actions, and cause the dilemma of the more counter-terrorism, the more terrorism. Military intervention in the name of counter-terrorism is a blatant violation of national security and territorial integrity, and will lead to major disasters and civilian casualties, and create a breeding ground for terrorists. We call on the countries concerned to prudently use military means in counter-terrorism operations, and give priority to the protection of civilians. The retaliation for the Kabul airport bombing last August killed 10 Afghan civilians, including 7 children. We look forward to the credible findings from the relevant authority. Last week's military raid against the ISIS leader also led to the deaths of 13 civilians, including 6 children. Such repeated incidents are unacceptable and must be fully investigated.
Fourth, we should vigorously help African countries strengthen counter-terrorism capacity-building. Terrorism and violent extremism are expanding in many places in Africa, posing a severe challenge to national security of regional countries. In the Sahel region, terrorist activities have led to instability, mass casualties and displacement. The five Sahel countries have established a joint force to carry out counter-terrorism operations, an effort worthy of recognition. The G5 Sahel counter-terrorism operations should be supported with sufficient and predictable funding. This issue can be discussed in depth within the UN framework to form concrete and feasible arrangements. Meanwhile, military operations by external forces in the Sahel region should strengthen coordination with G5 Sahel Joint Force to form synergy. China has always been committed to supporting the capacity-building of African countries that are at the forefront of counter-terrorism. This is a key funding area of the China-UN Peace and Development Fund. China has funded UNOCT and CTED in the implementation of a number of projects, offered counter-terrorism training and provided counter-terrorism textbooks and special equipment to relevant African countries, and held seminars on cross-border counter-terrorism cooperation. We stand ready to continue our practical support for African countries in their pursuit of peace and security.
Thank you, Mr. President.