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Remarks by Ambassador Zhang Jun at Security Council Open Debate "Peace and Security through Preventive Diplomacy: A Common Objective to All the Principal Organs of the United Nations"

2021-11-16 22:35

Mr. President, 

I wish to thank Secretary-General Guterres, GA President Shahid, ECOSOC President Kelapile and ICJ President Donoghue for their briefings. 

76 years ago, our forefathers made a solemn commitment in the UN Charter “to take effective collective measures for the prevention and removal of threats to the peace”. Over the years, the UN and its member states, with this as the guide for action, have actively pursued preventive diplomacy. There are both success stories as well as important lessons learned. The world today is undergoing complex and profound changes. We need to further enhance the understanding of preventive diplomacy and exert greater efforts at it. 

First, preventive diplomacy is all about prevention. In the early stages of a crisis, taking timely and appropriate action can have a multiplier effect that allows us to achieve “doing more with less”. The key is to formulate a preventive diplomacy strategy that is systematic, scientific and effective, making full use of means such as good offices and mediation, strengthening the early warning mechanism, and supporting the UN Secretary-General in playing his unique role. The early warning mechanism allows for early detection of signs of major problems, so immediate actions can be taken to address them. But it is also necessary to make sure that the early warning mechanism does not lead to overreaction and inappropriate involvement. 

Second, the root causes must be tackled. Emergency response can only temporarily avert or postpone crises. Only by eliminating the root causes of a conflict can we achieve lasting peace and stability. We should support countries in conflict to improve their governance system, enhance their government capacity, persist in a people-centered approach, focus on development and explore development paths that are in line with their national conditions. We should take concrete measures and actions to support relevant countries to combat poverty and hunger, and increase investment in education, health, infrastructure, and other public services. These are important means to strengthen national identity and promote social solidarity. Major economies should pursue responsible economic and trade policies, so as not to cause volatility in economic sectors and global financial markets. This is important for developing countries in terms of maintaining economic growth and social stability. 

Third, the ownership of the parties concerned must be respected. In preventive diplomacy, it is imperative to adhere to the purposes and principles of the Charter and follow the basic norms of international relations, such as sovereign equality and non-interference in internal affairs. A successful preventive diplomacy program is necessarily anchored in the specific situation and owned by the parties concerned. There is no single template or approach that is uniformly applicable. Preventive diplomacy cannot and must not become a pretext for interference in domestic affairs. History has shown time and again that arbitrarily interfering other countries’ internal affairs, imposing governance models on developing countries, or even pitting one faction against another often lead to internal conflicts in these countries. 

Fourth, we should enhance coordination to create synergies. We reaffirm our commitment to multilateralism and the central role of the UN as well as strengthening coordination within the UN system. The GA is the most representative body of the UN. It is an important platform for member states to engage in dialogue and cooperation in order to build consensus. The Economic and Social Council has professional advantages in promoting economic development and advancing peace and stability. The ICJ is the principal judicial organ of the UN, dedicated to promoting the international rule of law and the peaceful settlement of disputes. The Secretariat has an important role to play in strengthening coordination within the UN system. These organs should carry out their work in accordance with their respective mandates while maintaining communication and cooperation. China supports the PBC, in light with its mandate, to strengthen its interaction with the Security Council and to play a greater role in conflict prevention. The Security Council should further strengthen its cooperation with the AU and other regional organizations, allowing them to leverage the unique advantages in the prevention and resolution of conflicts in their respective regions. 

Mr. President, 

China welcomes the recent submission of the “Our Common Agenda” report by the Secretary-General. The report proposes that greater attention and investment be given to preventive diplomacy, a new agenda for peace be formulated, and the security risks be managed through effective and efficient measures. In particular, the report notes the necessity of targeted development assistance as a way to help address the root cause of conflicts. China looks forward to engaging with the UN membership to carry out in-depth discussions, step up cooperation, have clarity in follow-up ideas, and strive to gradually transform the vision proposed in the report into reality, so as to jointly build a better world of peace and security. 

Thank you, Mr. President. 

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