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Remarks by Ambassador Zhang Jun at the UN Security Council Briefing on “Maintenance of International Peace and Security: Promote Common Security Through Dialogue and Cooperation”

2022-08-22 13:00

Dear Colleagues,

The founding mission of the United Nations is to achieve common security for all, and the maintenance of international peace and security has been a regular agenda item here at the UN. Recent years however have witnessed increasing urgency in this regard and greater difficulties in solving the security dilemma. Our world is far from peaceful due to a complex interplay of security challenges such as political turmoil, military conflicts, terrorist threats, the COVID-19 pandemic, natural disasters, and energy and food crises. It seems that every country is striving to achieve its security, but the result is that the sense of insecurity is rising around the world.

Facing these new developments, the Security Council must revisit its original purpose to better respond to the expectations of all parties and better fulfill its responsibility in the maintenance of international peace and security. This is highly relevant in the current context. By setting the theme of today’s briefing as “Promote common security through dialogue and cooperation”, China hopes that all parties will, through calm and rational dialogue, have some in-depth considerations on the fundamental issues related to international security: What kind of international security do we really need? How can we get out of conflicts and turmoil under the current situation and avoid a larger-scale security disaster? What role can the United Nations play?

I thank Secretary-General Guterres and Ambassador Zlauvinen for their briefings. Their briefings conveyed fully their alertness to potential crises. They also shared with us many considerations and suggestions, providing a great deal of valuable inspirations to the Council for the next stage of its work. Members of the Council elaborated on their respective views in depth on the theme of the meeting. Although the positions may not entirely tally with each other, we still have broad consensus on some fundamental issues. We should translate the consensus into common action, leverage the role that the Council should duly play, and better perform our bounden duties.

Dear Colleagues,

The UN Charter sets out in its opening to “save succeeding generations from the scourge of war”, which has “brought untold sorrow to mankind”. Seventy-six years on, there is still a long way to go before we can attain the goal of common security. The baton of time has been passed into our hands. We should show our historical responsibility, and make due contributions to common security. In this connection, I would like to share a few points.

First, we should firmly adopt a security concept that meets the needs of the times. This is the premise for realizing common security.

It must be recognized that in the era of globalization, the world faces security and perils alike. No one lives in a vacuum and no country enjoys absolute security. To realize its own security, no country can ignore the legitimate security concerns of other countries, nor can one build its own security based on the insecurity of others’, or put up one’s own security fence at others’ doorstep. Security is indivisible. This is the common sense of our time and the starting point for achieving common security. If one runs counter to this, all security efforts, however mighty they may be, will go in the opposite direction and fall into the trap of a vicious circle.

Admittedly, due to different historical and cultural backgrounds and different stages of development, countries are bound to have different views on security issues and have conflicts of interests. In the face of differences and conflicting interests, what we should do is to find the greatest common denominator through dialogue and cooperation and resolve disputes by peaceful means. This is the only path to common security. Although this path may sometimes lower the speed, it represents the right direction. Engaging in such practices as clinging to the Cold War mentality, practicing unilateralism, zero-sum game, bloc confrontation and power politics will not only make it difficult to guarantee one’s own long-term security, but will also lead to an escalation of crisis to the opposite of common security. In this regard, the problems triggered by several rounds of NATO’s eastward expansion and the resultant lessons are profound indeed.

China has always adhered to the concept of common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security. President Xi Jinping put forward the Global Security Initiative, which pointed out the direction to and China’s vision for common security in view of the current predicaments in international security. The Global Security Initiative is open to all. We are willing to work with the international community and through sincere and pragmatic dialogue and cooperation to implement the Global Security Initiative with practical actions to build together a balanced, effective and sustainable international security architecture, so as to make our due contributions to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war.

Second, we should earnestly respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries. This is the foundation of common security.

Respect for national sovereignty and territorial integrity, as set out as the important principle in the UN Charter, is the bedrock of contemporary international law and international relations. If this principle is ignored and abandoned, the whole system of international law will be shaken to its roots, the world will return to the law of the jungle, and common security will be totally out of the question. For this reason, we must take a unequivocal stance in respecting the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries, respecting the development path and social system independently chosen by the people of each and every country, and respecting every country’s effort to safeguard its unity and national solidarity. This must be a golden rule of state-to-state interactions, serving as the foundation and boundary for achieving common security.

As a golden rule, it should be universally applied. Double standards should not be adopted, let alone saying one thing while doing something else, or reneging on one’s promises out of self-interest. In this regard, there already are many lessons. Experiences in Afghanistan, Syria, and Iraq, among others, serve as a warning to us all the time that interfering in other countries’ internal affairs under the pretext of counter-terrorism, democracy and human rights not only brings huge losses, harm and sufferings for the countries concerned, but also erodes the common values of mankind, such as democracy and freedom, and it undermines efforts for common security, rather than helping them. China always respects the sovereignty and territorial integrity of other countries, upholds international fairness and justice, and supports the efforts of the international community to achieve common security. At the same time, we will take all measures to firmly safeguard our own sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Third, we should strive to create a stable strategic security environment. This is the bottom line for maintaining common security.

Driven by the thinking of the so-called “strategic competition” among great powers, the global strategic security environment has continued to deteriorate. The international non-proliferation regime represented by the NPT is facing the most severe challenge since the end of the Cold War.

We concur with Secretary-General’s repeated calls that the only way to deal with a nuclear threat is to have no nuclear weapons. Countries with the largest nuclear arsenals should fulfill their special and priority responsibilities by further reducing their nuclear arsenals substantively and substantially in a verifiable, irreversible and legally-binding manner. This will create conditions for other nuclear weapons states to join the nuclear disarmament process.

Last January, leaders of the five nuclear weapon states issued a joint statement, which stresses that a nuclear war cannot be won and should not be fought, and reiterates that their nuclear weapons will not be aimed at each other or any other country. This solemn commitment is of profound importance in the current situation. It will help enhance mutual trust among major powers, prevent a nuclear war, and avoid an arms race which would plunge the world into greater calamities.

From the very first day of possessing nuclear weapons, China has been advocating the complete prohibition and thorough destruction of nuclear weapons, and has always adhered to the policy of “no first use” of nuclear weapons at anytime and under any circumstances. And we have made a clear commitment unconditionally not to use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear weapon states or nuclear weapon free zones. China is the only country among the five nuclear weapon states that has made the above commitments. We urge other nuclear weapons states to adopt the same policy to jointly safeguard global strategic stability and effectively reduce the risk of a nuclear war.

Fourth, the United Nations is the most important platform for maintaining common security. We should support the United Nations in continuing its central role. Ad effective global security governance system is the sine qua non for achieving common security.

The UN Security Council is at the core of the international collective security mechanism and the most authoritative and legitimate body of the multilateral security system. It has an irreplaceable role in safeguarding common security. We should support that United Nations and the Security Council in playing an effective role and proactively responding to the needs of the times and expectations of all parties. Members of the Security Council should enhance mutual trust, reduce confrontation, strengthen unity and cooperation, and safeguard the authority and effectiveness of the Security Council. We should support true multilateralism. We should make great efforts in promoting political settlement of disputes, and form synergy with the mediation efforts of the Secretary-General to better meet the current challenges and safeguard common security. We must increase input in the field of development, build a global partnership for development, promote security with development, ensure development with security, and seek common security and shared development. We must stay firmly committed to equity and justice by allowing the developing countries, which make up the absolute majority of the UN membership, in particular the African countries, to have equal rights and play a greater role.

Secretary-General Guterres is developing a New Agenda for Peace. The considerations underlying his work as he briefed us just now are well-targeted and provide important guidance for the international community in effective control of security risks and improvement of security governance. China expects the New Agenda for Peace to focus on the top concerns of the wide membership, reflect our common aspirations, strive to shape a common future, and inject fresh impetus into the efforts for common security. China’s ready to stand together with all other countries using the United Nations as the central platform to coordinate security in traditional and non-traditional areas, jointly respond to regional disputes and global issues such as terrorism, climate change, cybersecurity and biosecurity, and by joining hands in cooperation to make our world a place more peaceful, safer and better. 

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