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Statement by Ambassador Zhang Jun at the High-level Commemoration of United Nations Day for South-South Cooperation

2019-09-12 09:59

Mr. President,

In 2015, leaders of all countries gathered at the United Nations to adopt the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development which charts the course for global sustainable development and international cooperation for development. South-South cooperation is a symbol of solidarity among the people and countries of the South. It embodies the spirit of unity, cooperation and mutual assistance among developing countries and is an important driving force for global development. Guided by the principles of respecting national sovereignty and independence and seeking shared benefits, developing countries have actively engaged in South-South cooperation based on their own national conditions, development needs and priorities. This has injected new vitality to and blazed a new trail for the international efforts to tackle common challenges and achieve win-win cooperation and common development.

At present, the rise of unilateralism and protectionism has seriously poisoned international relations, jeopardized international law and international order, and posed a threat to world peace and stability. At the same time, the problem of unbalanced and inadequate development has become increasingly prominent. Developing countries are faced with more daunting challenges in areas such as poverty reduction, infrastructure development and improvement of people’s livelihood. This year, the United Nations has identified the theme “From Commitment to Action”for its South-South Cooperation Day, which is of particular significance. Here, I would like to highlight the following four points:

First, it is important to promote international cooperation for development and achieve common development. Accelerating the implementation of the 2030 Agenda is a common task of the international community and the shared expectation of all. North-South cooperation remains the main channel of international cooperation for development, and the nature of South-South cooperation as the complement rather than the substitute of North-South cooperation remains unchanged. Within the framework of South-South cooperation, developing countries should grow stronger through unity in seeking common development. At the same time, developed countries should fulfill their ODA commitments, shoulder their share of historic responsibilities and obligations by providing support to developing countries in capacity building as needed. The United Nations should continue to prioritize development issues. Relevant development agencies should actively support South-South cooperation, and all parties should jointly support the Office of South-South Cooperation in performing its duties.

Second, we must work hard to create an enabling environment for the development of developing countries. The positioning of developing countries was established in a historical process with specific contexts. A country’s development stage should not be defined by just a few indicators. Certain countries put their own interests above international ones and have engaged in unilateralism, protectionism and bullying in international cooperation, arbitrarily interfered in the normal cooperation between countries and their business operations. Such practice is detrimental. China is resolutely against making the positioning of developing countries as a political issue, which creates obstacles for developing countries and deprive them of the right to development. We call on the relevant countries to follow the trend of the times, fulfill their share of international responsibilities and obligations under international law, and play their due role in international cooperation for development.

Third, it is imperative to take actions and initiatives to implement the sustainable development goals. For the implementation of the 2030 Agenda, actions matter the most. Chanting slogans only is of no help. Even worse is doing nothing and forbidding others to do it, or making irresponsible comments on others’ contributions. China has always been a doer, not a talker. With the initiative of President Xi Jinping, China and the United Nations jointly established the China-United Nations Peace and Development Fund to actively assist South-South cooperation and help other developing countries implement the 2030 Agenda. In addition, China has established a South-South Cooperation Assistance Fund, the International Development Knowledge Center and the Institute for South-South Cooperation and Development to support UN agencies such as UNDP, UNICEF and UNFPA in their work to meet the priority development needs of developing countries. Africa is a continent with the highest number of developing countries. China has actively promoted cooperation with Africa in all areas. President Xi Jinping elaborated on China’s vision of cooperation with Africa featuring sincerity, real results, affinity, and good faith at the Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation and announced the plan for “eight major actions”. China has also provided US$60 billion in support of the implementation of the summit outcomes. Important initial gains have been made. China will remain committed to contributing more to South-South cooperation through concrete actions.

Fourth, we should build a global partnership of interconnectivity. Infrastructure is the cornerstone of interconnectivity. It is also the bottleneck in the development of developing countries. Strengthening cooperation among developing countries in interconnectivity to facilitate their greater integration into the global value, supply and industrial chains and achieve inter-connected development is an imperative. To this end, China has been vigorously promoting the “Belt and Road Initiative”. In this process, we uphold the principles of extensive consultations, joint contributions and shared benefits, and advocate open, green and clean cooperation. We pursue high-standard cooperation to improve people’s lives and promote sustainable development. Our efforts have contributed to economic growth and social development in relevant countries. Some people have, out of ulterior motives, made unfounded accusations against the “Belt and Road Initiative”. The so-called “debt trap” caused by infrastructure investment is a sheer fallacy and utterly baseless.

This year marks the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China. With 70 years of unremitting efforts, China has achieved a lot in its development. The good life now enjoyed by the Chinese people is the result of their hard work, and we are so proud. At the same time, as the world’s largest and most populous developing country, China, like other developing countries, still faces the acute problem of unbalanced and inadequate development. Poverty reduction remains an arduous task, and there is still a big gap between urban and rural areas. China is a developing country, 100 percent. We are ready to work with other developing countries to safeguard common interests and continuously increase the voice and expand the development space of developing countries in the global economic governance system. We expect that this commemorative conference on the United Nations “South-South Cooperation Day” will inject new and greater impetus to international cooperation for development and the accelerated implementation of the 2030 Agenda.

Thank you very much.

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