|Remarks by Ambassador Zhang Jun at the UN Security Council Briefing on Threats to International Peace and Security Caused by Terrorist Acts
I thank Under-Secretary-General Vladimir Voronkov, Acting Executive Director Weixiong Chen, and Mr. Martin Ewi for their briefings, and commend the UN Office of Counter-Terrorism (UNOCT) and the Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (CTED) for their important efforts to advance international counter-terrorism cooperation.
The latest report of the Secretary-General indicates that the current international counter-terrorism situation remains grave. Da’esh continues to launch terrorist attacks in an attempt to regain influence and continue to infiltrate into Africa, taking advantage of the volatile political and security situation, the COVID-19 pandemic and the intensified economic and social conflicts to fan grievances and recruit members. A large number of foreign terrorist fighters (FTFs) who remain in conflict zones for a long time are increasingly posing a huge security risk. We need to take into account the evolving counter-terrorism situation, reflect on the lessons learned so as to enhance the capacity of all countries to effectively contain and combat the global terrorist threats. China would like to emphasize the following four points.
First, counter-terrorism requires a comprehensive approach to address both the symptoms and root causes. Counter-terrorism efforts should focus on political, economic and judicial means in an integral manner, try to eliminate root causes of terrorism, and curb the ability of terrorist organizations to launch attacks and recruit new members. International counter-terrorism cooperation should focus on addressing such challenges as the misuse by terrorists of the internet and emerging technologies, the diversification of terrorism financing, and the convergence of terrorist extremism and transnational organized crimes, and support countries in strengthening information sharing, exchanging of experiences and judicial cooperation. A large number of FTFs remained in Syria, Iraq and other countries for a long time, and solutions for their repatriation should be developed as soon as possible. Attention should be paid to strengthen youth education and employment so as to prevent youth from being incited by violent and extremist ideologies.
Second, we should vigorously promote counter-terrorism capacity building with a focus on helping developing countries, especially African countries to enhance their counter-terrorism capability. The Security Council Counter-Terrorism Committee and other UN counter-terrorism bodies should optimize resource allocation, take into account the needs of each country, focus their efforts and resources on counter-terrorism capacity building, support developing countries in improving their counter-terrorism capacity at the legislative, judicial and law enforcement level, and enhance the effectiveness of preventive actions against terrorism. The Secretary-General’s report indicates that two of the three most dynamic Da’esh networks are based in Africa. Countries outside of the region should avoid creating a security vacuum when adjusting their military deployment in Africa, and strengthen communication and coordination with African countries to explore ways to overcome challenges faced by African counter-terrorism operations in logistics, funding and capacity building within the UN framework
Third, double standards must be abandoned in the fight against terrorism. There are no good or bad terrorists. Counter-terrorism must put aside geopolitical considerations and ideological biases. All countries should fulfill their obligations and strictly implement Council’s sanction measures against designated terrorist organizations and individuals. Selective counter-terrorism, or even using terrorist organizations for geopolitical gains. The instrumentalization of counter-terrorism seriously undermines the effectiveness of international counter-terrorism cooperation. The international community should pay equal attention to terrorists attacks everywhere. Since the sudden withdrawal of foreign forces from Afghanistan, the spillover effects of terrorist threats in Afghanistan on regional security are emerging. Recent terrorist attacks launched by Da’esh in Afghanistan are concerning. The international community should keep close watch on and make continuous efforts to combat Da’esh, Al-Qaeda and the Eastern Turkistan Islamic Movement and other active terrorist forces.
Fourth, counter-terrorism actions should comply with international law and respect the sovereignty of all countries. China supports the international counter-terrorism cooperation on the basis of equality and mutual respect. At the same time, counter-terrorism operations should be carried out in line with the purposes and principles of the UN Charter. The targeted elimination of terrorists through armed strikes must not undermine the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the countries concerned. The counter-terrorism practice of the international community over the past two decades has shown that we can not rely solely on military means to fight terrorism. Military interventions in the name of counter-terrorism in blatant violation of the sovereignty and territory integrity of other countries will only cause greater disaster, hurt innocent civilians, and even provide a breeding ground for the growth and spread of terrorist forces.
China actively participates in international counter-terrorism cooperation. Through the China-UN Peace and Development Fund, China supports the UNOCT and CTED in implementing cooperation projects to help developing countries, especially African countries, through counter-terrorism training, provision of counter-terrorism teaching materials and equipment, and holding seminars on cross-border counter-terrorism cooperation, so as to enhance their capacity to prevent and combat terrorism. We will continue to take concrete actions to support Africa, Central Asia and other frontline countries to strengthen counter-terrorism capacity building, and contribute to effectiveness of counter-terrorism endeavors and maintenance of international peace and security.