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Remarks by Ambassador Zhang Jun at the UN Security Council Open Debate on Peacebuilding and Sustaining Peace

2023-01-27 11:04

Mr. President, 

China welcomes the initiative of the Japanese Presidency to convene this meeting. I thank Deputy Secretary-General Amina J. Mohammed and Ambassador Muhammad Abdul Muhith for their briefings just now. I also listened attentively to the statements by civil society representatives. 

Peacebuilding is an important part of the efforts to realize lasting peace. Under the current circumstances, its importance is getting greater and more pronounced. China supports the Security Council in conducting in-depth discussions on this and making joint efforts with PBC and other relevant UN bodies. In connection with today’s topic, I would like to share the following observations. 

First, peacebuilding must insist on giving priority to development. DSG Amina, in her briefing just now, gave an in-depth elaboration on a nexus between peace and development, which China fully agrees with. Indeed, for many countries, development is the ultimate solution to their myriad challenges. Lack of development is an important root cause for many long-lasting unresolved hotspot issues on the agenda of the Council. In some extremely poor areas of South Sudan, livestock raiding has occurred from time to time, and become a flash point between communities. In Sahel, terror forces have exploited massive youth poverty and unemployment to spread radicalism and recruit combatant. Many LDCs bear the brunt of climate change, which in essence is an issue of sustainable development. Conflict-afflicted people are eager to rebuild their homes and long for a better life. Peacebuilding needs to identify correctly their aspirations, prioritize development, and tilt resources in favor of poverty elimination, people’s livelihood, wider access to education, public health, among others. We support industrialization, and modernization of their agriculture and infrastructure. Developed countries should truly honor their commitments of ODA and climate financing, and make up historical deficits. International financial institutions should fulfill their due responsibilities, and be deeply involved in peacebuilding, so as to reform synergy. 

Second, we must uphold a people-centered approach. The UN Charter begins with the words “we the peoples”. The UN is committed to promoting state-to-state cooperation. The fundamental goal of that is to ensure everyone’s enjoyment of peace and development dividends. UN peacekeeping and peacebuilding should remain committed to the founding mission of the UN Charter, uphold a people-centered philosophy, and strive to safeguard people’s interests, advance their well-being, and support their pursuit of a better life. UN peacebuilding should fully respect the sovereignty and leadership of the countries concerned, and support their in-depth exploration of a development path suited to their national conditions. In particular, UN peacebuilding should create enabling conditions and international environment for countries’ development. 

Third, we must do a good job in capacity building. Post-conflict countries have a lot on their plate. Blood transfusion alone is not viable. We have to pivot from blood transfusion to blood generation. So strengthening capacity building across the board is an imperative. 

China has made tireless efforts all along in this regard. China’s cooperation with Africa is always action-oriented and aimed at supporting capacity building. Since the beginning of the new century, China has built over 6,000 kilometers of railways, 6,000 kilometers of roads, nearly 20 ports, over 80 large power facilities in Africa, and helped build over 130 hospitals and clinics, over 170 schools, 45 sports stadiums, and over 500 agricultural projects there. These projects have effectively helped Africa address development bottlenecks such as lagging infrastructure and lack of talents and capital, and enhanced Africa’s capability for blood generation, that is, their indigenous growth, and brought tangible benefits and opportunities to the African people. 

In East Africa, the Mombasa-Nairobi railway and the Addis Ababa-Djibouti railway have changed the lives of local young people. Many people have seized the business opportunities of convenient logistics to make a fortune. Some people have mastered driving skills and management expertise thanks to the training by China and become the first train conductors and train attendants. We also have many agricultural cooperation projects in Africa, which have led local farmers to develop rice plantation, and many agriculture demonstration households have learned advanced planting techniques as a result. In Gabon, we have established the Nkok international vocational education and training center. Hundreds of young people have received professional training in electronics and electrical technology, machining, and welding technology, and will become the future mechanics and engineers of their country. 

Fourth, we must promote inclusiveness and unity. Post-conflict countries have an important task to ensure people from all walks of life participate equally in state governance, so that the people are truly the masters of their own country. Just now, DSG Amina also mentioned the situation in Afghanistan. I would like to point out that during the peaceful reconstruction of Afghanistan, the rights of women and girls to education and employment should be effectively guaranteed. We hope that the Taliban authorities will make positive efforts to that end. We also call on the international community to continue to support the national reconstruction of Afghanistan, thus laying the groundwork for the protection of women and girls’ rights. For many developing countries with internal conflicts, while respecting diversity and inclusiveness, all parties must transcend communal and partisan differences to jointly maintain lasting peace and security. External forces should play a constructive role, and refrain from recklessly interfering in the internal affairs of other countries. Pitting one faction against another will only aggravate division and confrontation, making the situation even more complicated and turbulent. 

China will continue to support peacebuilding with concrete actions, and contribute towards the realization of lasting peace.

I thank you, Mr. President.

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