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Statement by Ambassador MA Zhaoxu at the First Meeting during the 72nd GA of the Intergovernmental Negotiations on Security Council Reform

2018-02-01 12:34

Distinguished co-chairs,

Since this is my first time to attend a public meeting of the UN since I took office, I wish to take this opportunity to greet all my colleagues.

I wish to congratulate the co-chairs on the commencement of the intergovernmental negotiations on Security Council reform at the current session and thank the PGA for his remarks. In the last few months, the co-chairs have engaged extensively with member states to listen to their views on the arrangements of the intergovernmental negotiations for this session. China commends those efforts. China hopes and is convinced that the co-chairs would act in accordance with the mandate of the GA decision 62/557, uphold the principle of member states' ownership, maintain objectivity and impartiality, and play a bridging role in facilitating communication and narrowing differences among the parties on Security Council reform. China will actively support the work of the co-chairs.

Reform of the Security Council is a complex and systemic project bearing on both the vital interests of Member States and the long-term development of the United Nations. It should be a democratic, consultative, transparent and inclusive process with a commitment to continuously build mutual trust and foster consensus. The five clusters of issues, namely, categories of membership, the question of veto, regional representation, the size and working methods of an enlarged Council and the relationship between the Security Council and the General Assembly, form an integral whole with interconnectivity and interdependence. Therefore we should take a holistic approach to Security Council reform and seek a package solution. Any attempt at a step-by-step or piecemeal approach will impair the integral nature of the reform, will not be helpful to the achievement of the ultimate goal of the reform, and will not be acceptable to the whole membership.

The intergovernmental negotiations constitute an important platform to advance Security Council reform. Member states attach great importance to the negotiation process and have actively participated in it during which they have engaged in candid exchange of views, acquired a better understanding of each other's positions and concerns, and maintained the momentum of the reform. The intergovernmental negotiation process has had its twists and turns, but also produced constructive practices. Relevant experience and lessons merit reflection by member states. Practice has shown that respecting the ownership of member states is a fundamental prerequisite to the smooth progress of the intergovernmental negotiations. All the views, ideas and proposals of member states on Security Council reform are parts of the important basis of the negotiations and must be fully respected. In the absence of consensus among member states, attempts to streamline positions of the parties or cut down reform options go against the principle of member states' ownership and will further complicate the reform process. Artificial reform deadlines, imposition of immature reform proposals or launching text-based negotiations when conditions are not yet ripe will undermine the credibility of the intergovernmental negotiations and do a disservice to the unity among the member states and the healthy development of the negotiations.

In the seventy-plus years since its birth, the UN has witnessed its membership grow from 51 to 193. Most of the member states are developing countries and African states account for more than one fourth of the total UN membership. The rise of the developing countries as a group and the ascending power and influence of African states are prominent features of the international relations in the world we live now. The reform of the Security Council should reflect this reality by giving priority to the increase of the representation and voice of developing countries, particularly African counties, supporting African countries' efforts to rectify historical injustices, fully reflecting the will of regional countries in the decision making of the Security Council and enabling more small-and-medium-sized countries to play a bigger role in maintaining international peace and security.

China has always supported rational and necessary reform of the Security Council with the purpose of enhancing the Council's authority and efficiency and enabling it to better fulfill the duty bestowed on it by the UN Charter and better respond to various new challenges and threats. China hopes that at this session of the intergovernmental negotiations, member states will have extensive, in-depth and democratic consultations on the five clusters in an open, transparent and inclusive manner, and further mutual understanding and trust so as to create conditions for reaching a package solution and the broadest possible consensus. China stands ready to work with all parties to push Security Council reform in a direction that would serve the common interest of the whole membership and the long-term interest of the United Nations.

Thank you, co-chairs.

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