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Statement by Ambassador Ma Zhaoxu at the High-level Meeting to Discuss the Gaps and Challenges of Middle-income Countries in the Implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

2018-12-04 12:26

Madame President,

I thank you for holding this high-level meeting, and highly appreciate your efforts to encourage the international community to place importance to the issue of middle-income countries. China associates itself with the statement made by Egypt on behalf of Group of 77 and China.

At present, the international situation is complicated. Mounting unilateralism and protectionism have placed multilateralism and the role of the United Nations under attack and negatively affected the external environment of developing countries. Development is the foundation for improving people's livelihood and peace building. It is also the key to solving all global problems. Under the current circumstances, the international community needs more than ever to raise the banner of development, firmly support multilateralism, and promote global peace and development.

Over the past three years since the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, thanks to the coordination of the United Nations, the implementation of the Agenda has made headways globally. It should also be noted that problems such as imbalances in development, lagging governance, and increasing inequality remain acute. Developing countries, including middle-income countries, face development challenges that cannot be ignored. We still have a long way to go in achieving SDGs and the goal of "leaving no country and no one behind" on schedule globally.

Middle-income countries are also developing countries. Like other developing countries, they face challenges in poverty eradication, food security, addressing climate change challenges, infrastructure, and scientific and technological progress among others. Although progress is encouraging in the middle-income countries, they have encountered many problems in development. For example, in terms of people's livelihood, there are problems like how to achieve rapid economic growth while reducing inequality and how to achieve economic transformation and upgrading. In environmental aspects, the problems are how to deal with resources shortages, improve energy efficiency, and reduce environmental pollution. In social aspects, they have to deal with aging population, building an inclusive society, strengthening gender equality and women's empowerment. The problems are too many to be listed here. The international community should view the development level of middle-income countries in a comprehensive and objective manner, strengthen global partnership for development, and build a cooperation pattern with the United Nations at its core, North-South cooperation as the main channel and South-South cooperation as supplement, and provide strong support for the middle-income countries in their development.

The international community should work vigorously to give development issues greater prominence in the macro-policy framework. We must urge developed countries to fulfill their commitment to ODA and create a favorable international development environment for developing countries, including middle-income countries. We should improve global economic governance and enhance the voice and representation of developing countries. The United Nations should take reform as an opportunity to improve the effectiveness of its development system and better solve the problem of inadequate and unbalanced global development.

We must defend multilateralism, uphold the principles and purposes of the UN Charter and the basic norms of international relations, and unequivocally oppose unilateralism and protectionism. We must defend the multilateral trading system with the WTO at its center. Developing countries must strengthen unity in steadfastly safeguarding their common interests and development space.

Madame President,

China is a middle-income country and more importantly a developing country. Though a large economy, its per capita GDP is only about 80% of the world's average. China's new industries, new trends and new models are developing rapidly, but traditional industries still take up a large proportion of our economy and we are faced with an arduous task of industrial transformation and upgrading. Our industries on the whole still remain at the middle-to-low end of the world. There are still acute problems, such as unbalanced economic and social development, unbalanced urban-rural development and unbalanced development among different regions. We have nearly 600 million farmers, more than 200 million migrant workers, and more than 30 million people living in poverty. Viewed from any perspective, China is an quintessential developing country.

China has always been a member of the developing countries. It is a reliable friend and a sincere partner of the developing countries. We firmly support developing countries in exploring their development paths in line with their own conditions. We have always integrated our own development with the common development of developing countries, and build a community of shared interests and future in which we help each other. For more than 60 years, cooperation between China and other developing countries has grown stronger with fruitful results. Last September, President Xi Jinping announced at the Beijing Summit of the China-Africa Cooperation Forum that China will cooperate with Africa to implement the "Eight Major Actions" and provide 60 billion U.S. dollars in support of Africa through governmental assistance, business investment and financing by financial institutions.

Regardless of how the international situation changes, there will be no change in the direction in which China will work with other developing countries, nor our determination to firmly safeguard our common interests. Our efforts to deepen pragmatic cooperation and seek common development will not cease. China is ready to work with other developing countries to deepen South-South cooperation, jointly promote the "Belt and Road Initiative" and contribute to the common prosperity and progress of developing countries and the building of a community of shared future for humankind.

Thank you, Madame President.

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