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Remarks by Ambassador Zhang Jun at the UN Security Council Briefing on Ukraine

2023-02-17 14:18

Madam President, 

China’s position on the Ukraine issue is consistent and clear. The sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries should be safeguarded, the purposes and principles of the UN Charter upheld, the legitimate security concerns of all countries be taken seriously, and all efforts conducive to the peaceful resolution of the crisis supported.

Eight years ago on this day, the Security Council unanimously adopted Resolution 2202 endorsing the Minsk Agreement as the basic political document for solving the eastern Ukraine issue. Unfortunately, after the agreement was reached, fighting never stopped. There have been constant disagreements over the interpretation and implementation of its provisions. The situation that should have been deescalated with the agreement actually saw further escalation, eventually leading to a larger scale conflict. 

While we deplore the failure of the Minsk Agreement, no one can deny that the signing of the agreement represents the right direction of solving disputes and differences through dialogue and negotiation, and is in line with the fundamental spirit of the UN Charter. Diplomatic efforts made to reach the agreement still merit our recognition today. 

The lesson here is this. The vitality of an agreement depends on how well it is implemented. If it cannot be translated into concrete actions actively and in good faith, even the best agreement would end up being just a piece of paper. On the other hand, if all provisions in the Minsk Agreement could be effectively implemented, the Ukraine crisis might not have developed to what it is today. 

The Ukraine crisis is, in essence, the culmination of security conflicts in Europe closely related to NATO’s constant eastern expansion since the Cold War. Pursuing absolute security and political exclusion and containment by force against a specific party is the very crux of the reason why Europe is in the security plight. If following such a mindset, Europe, and even the whole world will be caught up in greater turmoil. We once again call on Russia and Ukraine to cease fire and start peace negotiations as soon as possible. The US, EU, and NATO should also sit down with Russia for a comprehensive and in-depth dialogue. Based on the principle of security indivisibility, they should discuss how to build a balanced, effective, and sustainable security architecture and realize common security. In this context, every effort should be made to stop any attempt to hype up the conflict and to avoid its escalation and expansion. 

Here, I would like to point out that NATO, on the one hand, claims to remain a regional defensive alliance, while on the other hand, constantly seeks to breach its geographic confines and expand its agenda, stoke division and tensions, create fears and confrontations, and keep strengthening military and security ties with Asia Pacific countries. This is obviously self-contradictory. We note with concern that the NATO Secretary General recently made many irresponsible and unfounded remarks on the situation of Asia Pacific. We urge NATO to draw lessons from history, abandon the obsolete Cold War mentality and bloc confrontation, and stop dangerous acts of creating imaginary enemies, destabilizing Europe, and messing up Asia Pacific. It should contribute positively to world peace and stability, instead of merely being a troublemaker. 

Madam President, 

Strict compliance with international treaties and the implementation of legal obligations in good faith are the basic requirements of the rule of law. This is what practicing true multilateralism is about. Regrettably, when it comes to negotiated agreements that failed to be implemented, the Minsk Agreement is not the only case. The Paris Agreement on climate change faces major setbacks because of the withdrawal of one key party. The JCPOA has yet to be revived. Some major bilateral and multilateral treaties and agreements are now being withdrawn from, violated, hollowed out, and weakened. Should such a trend continue, great harm would be inflicted on the world. This is something we should be highly vigilant against. Relevant countries also should conduct serious reviews and reflections on this. 

The human society is facing unprecedented challenges, but peace development, cooperation, and mutual benefit are still an unstoppable historical trend. Globalization is making our global village smaller, but the world is big enough to accommodate common development and progress of all countries. To strive for a bright future for humankind, all countries should pursue a just cause for common good, and promote inclusiveness, mutual learning, peaceful coexistence, and cooperation. There is a need to respect each other’s legitimate and reasonable security concerns, rather than cling to the Cold War mentality or engaging in bloc politics or exclusive small circles. There is also a need to realize win-win cooperation by integrating to economic globalization, rather than expecting others to lose or trying to stay ahead by suppressing the development of other countries. And major country should behave in a way commensurate with its status, and work together with others to maintain stable international relations, rather than putting the interests of their own over the common interests of the international community or seeking dominance and dictating the whole world. 

The world is once again at a historical crossroads. We call on all peace-loving countries to unite under the banner of the UN, practice true multilateralism, and promote the spirit of the rule of law, so as to maintain common security, promote common development, and create a shared future. 

Thank you, Madam President.

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