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Remarks by Ambassador Zhang Jun at Webinar on the Impact of Unilateral Coercive Measures On the Global Fight Against COVID-19

2020-06-02 10:20

Honorable Ms. Espinosa,

Excellencies, Experts,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It gives me great pleasure to gather with you online for this discussion on the impact of unilateral coercive measures on the global fight against COVID-19. I agree with the ambassadors and experts who spoke before me. This Webinar will once again send a strong message to the world against unilateral coercive measures for the maintenance of the purposes and principles of the UN Charter and solidarity and cooperation in fighting the pandemic.

After 75 years of vicissitudes, the UN Charter remains a cornerstone in maintaining world peace and stability. A small number of countries such as the United States, in total disregard of the purposes and principles of the UN Charter and the norms of international law, wantonly take unilateral coercive measures like economic embargo and financial sanctions against other countries, which seriously undermine the sovereignty of the sanctioned countries and the legitimate rights and interests of entities and individuals within their jurisdiction. Such practice is utterly illegitimate.

Unilateral coercive measures run counter to multilateralism and the basic norms of international relations. Over the years, unilateral coercive measures have undermined the sanctioned countries’ ability to mobilize resources, develop the economy, and improve people’s living standards, making innocent civilians the biggest victims. We express deep sympathies for the sufferings of Cuba and other countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America as well as in other parts of the world, and support the countries’ actions to uphold their legitimate rights and interests. The spread of COVID-19 is posing enormous threats to people’s lives and health and severe challenges to global public health security, and wreaking havoc with the world’s economic and social development. Facing this unprecedented human crisis, some countries still insist on unilateral coercive measures, which only make things worse.

—Unilateral coercive measures severely disrupt the already fragile global trade and supply chains and impede the transportation and provision of medical and anti-epidemic supplies, making it difficult for sanctioned countries to curb the disease. This endangers the lives of so many and will delay the final victory of the global fight against the pandemic.

—Unilateral coercive measures severely weaken the vulnerable countries’ ability to respond, making it impossible for them to effectively ease the economic and social impacts of the pandemic. The basic rights and interests of the vulnerable groups such as women, children, the elderly, and persons with disabilities will be undermined even more.

—Unilateral coercive measures seriously hinder the post-pandemic recovery and development of sanctioned countries. It will further aggravate poverty, hunger and inequalities and may cause irreparable losses to the global implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development as well as the cause of development. The United States uses national power to suppress on foreign companies, sabotages international cooperation on science and technology, and abuses long arm jurisdiction. Such acts of bullying have further violated other countries’ rights of self-development, seriously undermined the world economy, and triggered a series of negative consequences.

Solidarity and cooperation is the most powerful weapon in fighting COVID-19. All members of the international community should respond positively to Secretary-General’s appeals, make every effort to tackle the impact of unilateral coercive measures, and help sanctioned countries overcome the difficulties.

First, we should urge the relevant countries to immediately lift unilateral coercive measures and work with the international community to fight the pandemic and get through this difficult time. We must fully listen to the people of the sanctioned countries, take concrete actions to protect their health and rights, and leave no one behind.

Second, the UN and other international organizations should provide sanctioned countries with timely and effective support to help them address the economic and social impact of the pandemic, and ease the difficulties facing the people to prevent humanitarian disasters. China is among the first to act, and has provided a large amount of assistance to countries in need and will continue to do so.

Third, the UN General Assembly, the Security Council, the Economic and Social Council, the Human Rights Council and other agencies should take necessary steps, make a strong voice and explore solutions from different angles to fundamentally eliminate the impact of unilateral coercive measures.

Fourth, we should jointly practice multilateralism, firmly uphold the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, resolutely oppose hegemonism, power politics and bullying practice, and create a favorable international environment for countries to win the fight against the disease and achieve rapid recovery and sustainable development. No country will succeed in making itself great by trying to stop the development of others.

We have only one world, and people have a shared future. Although we are more physically apart due to the virus, our hearts are more closely connected. To make our world a better place, we must help each other and work together for a bright future shared by all.

I thank you.

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