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Position Paper of China at the 59th Session of the UN General Assembly

2004-08-05 00:00

Since the 58th Session of the UN General Assembly, the international situation has continued to undergo profound and complicated changes. Peace and development remain the themes of the times. Maintaining world peace and promoting common development is the shared aspiration of peoples across the world. In the meantime, however, there are increasing uncertainties affecting peace and development. Ethnic and religious problems and local conflicts sparked by boundary and territorial disputes crop up from time to time. The North-South gap is still widening. Raging terrorism, rampant transnational crimes, the spread of disease, environmental pollution and other non-traditional security factors are threatening human development in a wide range of areas. In this context, the authority and role of the UN need to be secured and enhanced.

Against this backdrop, the 59th Session of the UN General Assembly is of great significance. This Session is, in the main, aimed at strengthening the role of the UN, building consensus on multilateralism, promoting democratization and the rule of law in international relations, and further implementing the Millennium Declaration. China hopes that at this Session, UN member states will have in-depth discussions on major and pressing issues that bear on world peace and development, so as to reach broad consensus and take coordinated actions.

I. The United Nations

1. Multilateralism and Role of the UN

Multilateralism is an effective way to meet mankind's common challenges, an important means to settle international disputes, a strong guarantee for sound globalization, and the best avenue to push for democracy and the rule of law in international relations. To put multilateralism on a more effective footing, it is essential to cultivate a global partnership based on equality, mutual trust and cooperation under the guidance of a new security and development concept.

Being the most universal, representative and authoritative intergovernmental organization and the best platform for the practice of multilateralism, the UN has an indispensable role to play in this regard. It is the appeal of the world at large that the UN should be given a stronger role, its authority safeguarded and the purposes and principles of the UN Charter adhered to. China, as always, unswervingly supports the UN's central role in international affairs.

2. UN Reforms

China supports the UN to keep abreast of the times and have necessary and reasonable reforms. The purpose of the UN reforms is to enhance the role of the UN and its capacity to meet new threats and challenges. The principle of the reforms should follow the purposes and principles of the UN Charter. And the approach of the reforms is to build broad consensus on the basis of full consultations in a democratic and transparent manner.

Peace and development are mutually reinforcing. The key to the UN reforms is to achieve progress on development issues. In the reforms, the reasonable concerns and legitimate rights and interests of the developing countries should be fully accommodated, the developing countries should be given a bigger say on UN matters, and more input should be made by the UN in development.

China supports the Security Council to conduct necessary and reasonable reforms. First and foremost the reform needs to redress the current imbalanced composition of the Security Council by following the principle of equitable geographical distribution and increasing representation of the developing countries as a priority. China is in favor of taking further measures to improve the working methods of the Security Council, so as to make it more efficient and transparent.

China supports the work of the High-level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change initiated by Secretary General Kofi Annan. And China looks forward to strategic analyses and recommendations from the Panel on how to tackle major world threats of the day, which will be discussed by all member states.

3. UN Peacekeeping Operations

Peacekeeping operations are among the core means of the UN Security Council in fulfilling its duty of maintaining international peace and security. Intensified effort in this respect can help enhance the authority of the UN, give full play to the mechanism of collective security and push forward multilateralism.

China hopes that, with a view to maintaining regional and global peace and stability, all member states will provide political, funding, human and equipment support to the UN peacekeeping operations in a timely and sufficient manner, so as to create necessary conditions for the success of all peacekeeping missions.

In the new circumstances, the UN peacekeeping operations need further reforms and clearly defined and pragmatic strategies. It is important to give full play to the UN Security Council Working Group of the whole on Peacekeeping Operations, increase communication and coordination between and among the Security Council, the UN Secretariat and all the member states, and facilitate cooperation between the UN and regional organizations. The international community should also assist Africa in enhancing its peacekeeping capabilities.

4. UN Financial Issues

In the spirit of the UN Charter and under the principle of capacity to pay set by the General Assembly resolution, all member states should conscientiously fulfill their financial obligations by paying their assessed contributions for both regular budgets and peacekeeping on time, in full and without conditions, so as to ensure a solid and stable financial basis for the UN.

In utilizing UN resources, it is important to follow the principle of integrating resources with programs, and use resources more efficiently while fully considering and accommodating the reasonable concerns and requests of the developing countries.

Member states should step up coordination and communication, work more efficiently and give more guidance to the Secretariat in program coordination and fiscal budgeting.

II. The Development Issue

1. Economic Globalization

China believes that to move economic globalization forward in the right direction of balanced and stable development and secure a win-win result for all, the international community should make efforts in the following areas:

-- To carry out effective global management of economic globalization by reforming and improving the international financial system, increasing the openness and fairness of the multilateral trading system, and enhancing the UN's overall planning and coordinating capability in the field of development to ensure equal participation for all countries, the developing ones in particular, in the decision-making on world economic issues;

-- To further strengthen coordination and consultation and explore concrete measures and mechanisms to implement the Millennium Summit's consensus on development cooperation;

-- To urge the developed countries to discharge their due obligations and duties, further open their markets, remove trade barriers and earnestly fulfill their commitments of increasing financial aid and technical assistance debt relief, etc.;

2. Implementation of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)

The MDGs are the first set of comprehensive quantitative development goals the international community has ever put forward. Helping all countries, the developing ones in particular, meet these goals is an important mission of the United Nations and its specialized agencies. To that end, it is important for the international community to:

Take concrete actions to mobilize fund to promote sustained and steady growth in development aid and meet the goal that the developed countries' official development assistance accounts for 0.7% of their GNP;

Facilitate the sound development of international trade. The United Nations needs to help the new round of multilateral trade negotiations stay focused on development issues and make it a real "development round";

Step up international cooperation on sustainable development. The existing mechanisms should be fully utilized to implement the consensus and goals of the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD);

Strengthen capacity-building in the developing countries. The international community should give substantive support to the developing countries in light of their respective needs in such fields as institutional building, personnel training and competitiveness development;

Establish a fair and rational framework to evaluate the progress made towards the MDGs that not only assesses respective domestic progress but also monitors and evaluates the fulfillment of development assistance commitments;

Establish a global partnership. Governments, international organizations, private sectors and civil society shall work in close cooperation to meet the MDGs. In this connection, the UN needs to play a leading and coordinating role.

III. Counter-terrorism

China supports the fight against all forms of terrorism. The UN Security Council should play a leading role in the international fight against terrorism. To serve the interests of regional as well as world peace and security in the long run, it should draw up a long-term and comprehensive counter-terrorism strategy in line with the UN Charter and the norms of international law. China supports a bigger role of the Counter-Terrorism Committee of the UN Security Council.

Poverty, backwardness, social injustice, extremist thoughts, conflicts and wars are all breeding ground of terrorism. To combat terrorism, strenuous efforts must be made to wipe out its root causes. China welcomes dialogue between different civilizations and opposes the linkage of terrorism to a specific country, ethnic group or religion as well as the adoption of double standards on this issue.

China is also a victim of terrorism. The fight against the "Eastern Turkistan" terrorists is an important component of the world campaign against terrorism. The Chinese Government cherishes the life of each and every Chinese compatriot and will never tolerate any terrorist threat to the safety of its citizens.

China endorses and has taken an active part in the formulation of the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism and the International Convention for the Suppression of the Acts of Nuclear Terrorism and hopes that all parties concerned will continue consultations on the remaining questions of the two Conventions in a constructive and cooperative manner and adopt them as soon as possible.

IV. Regional Issues

1. Iraq

It is the position of China that the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Iraq be safeguarded, the wish and choice of the Iraqi people respected, the restoration of Iraq's sovereignty and Iraqi people running Iraq truly realized, and a broadly representative Iraqi government established through fair and democratic elections.

China believes the important role of the United Nations on the Iraqi issue should be brought into full play, the views of Iraq's neighbors and other Arab states should be noted and heeded, and extensive participation of the international community should be encouraged in an endeavor to help Iraq stabilize its situation and embark on the path towards peace, stability and development at an early date.

2. Middle East

China welcomes the recent peace-making efforts by the international community to break the impasse in the Israel-Palestine peace talks.

The relevant UN resolutions and the principle of "land for peace" are an important basis and guiding principles for a political settlement of the Middle East issue. Accepted by the parties concerned and endorsed by the UN Security Council, the Middle East "roadmap" for peace is now a practical plan to resolve the Israel-Palestine conflicts and needs to be further promoted.

The implementation of any solution plan on this issue must be based on adequate dialogue and consultation between the parties concerned. The efforts of the international community should show full respect for the cultural background, religious traditions and social customs of the Middle East region and conduce to maintaining and promoting peace and development in the region.

3. Afghanistan

The forthcoming general election in Afghanistan will be a key step towards peace and reconstruction of the country. The world community should continue to pay attention to the Afghan issue, help the country overcome such difficulties as instability in its security situation, facilitate a smooth general election, and deliver the promised aid as soon as possible to promote its economic development. China supports the United Nations' continued leading role on the Afghan issue.

4. African Conflicts

Conflicts and wars have seriously impeded economic development and social progress in Africa. It is the common responsibility and obligation of the international community to help African countries realize national reconciliation, resolve regional conflicts and embark on a road to rejuvenation.

The international community should pay more attention to African conflicts. The United Nations needs to play an even bigger role in assisting African states in preventing, mediating and settling conflicts, peacekeeping, providing humanitarian aid and post-war reconstruction.

The fundamental solution to African conflicts is development. It is imperative for the international community to step up its efforts in debt relief for Africa, and in helping the continent reduce poverty and control diseases in support of the economic and social development in African countries.

China supports the African Union and other regional organizations in their efforts to resolve conflicts and maintain peace and stability in Africa.

5. Non-proliferation, Arms Control and Disarmament

China stands for complete prohibition and thorough destruction of all kinds of weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) including nuclear, biological and chemical weapons, and firmly opposes the proliferation of WMDs and their means of delivery.

China believes that to properly address non-proliferation issues at their roots would require concerted efforts of the international community. First and foremost, a sound international and regional security environment needs to be put in place so as to remove the root cause for the proliferation of WMDs. Second, international cooperation must be strengthened and political and diplomatic means should be pursued in dealing with non-proliferation issues. Third, all members of the international community should have a role to play so as to ensure that international efforts in this regard are impartial, rational and non-discriminatory. Fourth, the relationship between non-proliferation and international cooperation on the peaceful use of relevant high technologies should be properly handled so as to ensure the right of all countries to the peaceful use of these technologies.

China supports the due role of the UN in non-proliferation and hopes Security Council Resolution 1540 will be effectively implemented. China is active in international non-proliferation cooperation, accedes to all international treaties on non-proliferation and vigorously develops its relations with relevant multilateral export control mechanisms. Furthermore, it conscientiously honors relevant international obligations and commitments and continues to strengthen its non-proliferation legal system.

China has all along exercised a high degree of restraint in the development of nuclear weapons. It has never taken part in any arms race, nor will it do so in the future.

China has always endorsed the conclusion of international legal instruments on the complete prohibition and thorough destruction of nuclear weapons, and has maintained that all countries seriously implement nuclear weapon reduction treaties already reached in a verifiable and irreversible way. Security should be shared by all countries so as to create a positive and favorable international security environment for possible progress in nuclear disarmament.

The Comprehensive Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) conduces to preventing proliferation of nuclear weapons and to the nuclear disarmament process. It represents a crucial step towards the complete prohibition and thorough destruction of nuclear weapons. China supports the CTBT and works vigorously to help it take effect at an early date.

China supports the Conference on Disarmament (CD) in its efforts to agree on a comprehensive and balanced program of work as soon as possible so that negotiations on the Fissile Material Cut-Off Treaty (FMCT) and substantive work on other agenda and items may start at an early date.

China believes that the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) is the cornerstone of the international nuclear non-proliferation mechanism and its role is irreplaceable. Under the current international non-proliferation situation, continued efforts should be made to safeguard and strengthen the universality and authority of the NPT, and the NPT review mechanism should be used to enable the treaty to play its role more effectively in preventing the spread of nuclear weapons, promoting nuclear disarmament and facilitating the peaceful use of nuclear energy.

China supports the purposes and objectives of the Chemical Weapons Convention and has been fulfilling its obligations under the Convention in a serious and strict manner. China calls upon those countries that have not signed or ratified the Convention to do so as soon as possible. The States Parties that possess chemical weapons and those that abandoned such weapons on the territories of other State Parties shall make further efforts to speed up the destruction process.

China supports the purposes and objectives of the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) and has been implementing its obligations under the Convention in a comprehensive and strict manner. China is willing to continue to make positive contributions to strengthen the effectiveness of the Convention within the multilateral framework.

China maintains that the various questions related to missiles should be properly settled within the framework of the UN in an all-round, balanced, non-discriminatory, orderly and gradual manner, with the premise that security for all countries should not be compromised, the positions and concerns of various parties be fully reflected, and comprehensive consideration be given to global strategic stability and regional security situation.

China stands for peaceful use of the outer space and opposes arms race in or the introduction of weapons into the outer space. China appeals to the international community to attach great importance to the current developments of weaponization of the outer space, and to take vigorous and effective preventive measures including negotiating relevant international legal instruments to avoid possible trouble.

China will continue to support, participate in and promote progress in the work of Group of Governmental Experts of the State Parties to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW). After ratifying the Amendment Article I of the Convention, China is now making active preparations to ratify the Protocol on Explosive Remnants of War.

China understands and attaches importance to the humanitarian concerns of the international community over indiscriminate injuries to innocent civilians caused by landmines. It has always supported and taken an active part in international efforts to solve the problem. As a State Party to the amended Landmine Protocol to the CCW, China has strictly honored its commitments and vigorously participated in international de-mining assistance.

China supports the UN's leading role in combating illicit trade in small arms. It attaches importance to and conscientiously implements the Program of Action adopted at the United Nations' Conference on the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects held in 2001. China also supports negotiating and concluding an international instrument concerning the identification and tracking of illicit small arms while taking a constructive approach to participate in relevant negotiations currently underway.

China attaches importance to the Firearms Protocol supplementing the United Nations Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime. Active preparation for the implementation of the Protocol is under way. China is ready to work with other countries to see an early entry into force of the Firearms Protocol.

China supports the UN's role on the question of information security and will actively participate in the work of the UN Group of Governmental Experts on Information Safety. China maintains that the Group of Experts conduct in-depth study on issues of major and immediate significance in the field of information security to the shared interest of all countries so as to build consensus and come up with specific recommendations.

VI. Social Problems

1. Human Rights

Every country in the world has the obligation to promote and protect human rights in accordance with the purposes and principles of the UN Charter and international human rights instruments in light of the country's actual conditions. The international community should respect the fact that human rights can not be separated from one another, redress the tendency of putting much emphasis on civil and political rights while making light of economic, social and cultural rights, and work towards a balanced development of both types of human rights while giving full attention to the right to development.

China calls for international cooperation on human rights. The international community should recognize different views about human rights that derive from the political, economic and cultural differences of each country. Countries should go for common development by increasing exchanges and mutual understanding and learning from each other on the basis of equality and mutual respect. China is opposed to double standards on human rights or making human rights a political issue.

China supports the UN in reforming the human rights mechanism in a prudent and proper way on the basis of heeding the views of various parties. Such reform should help reduce confrontation on human rights issues, promote relevant international cooperation and increase the efficiency of the human rights mechanism.

2. Women

It is the consensus of the international community to enhance women's status, safeguard their rights and interests and realize gender equality. The women issue is not an isolated one and should be incorporated into the global strategic framework for peace and development.

The Fourth World Conference on Women in 1995 and the UN General Assembly special session on women in 2000 contributed significantly to the cause for women throughout the world. Countries should implement the Beijing Declaration and the Platform for Action adopted at the Fourth World Conference on Women, the documents of the special session on women and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) so as to move the global cause for women forward.

Development is a crucial means to achieve gender equality. The international community should enhance their cooperation on women issues. The developed countries, in particular, should help women in the developing ones to develop themselves more rapidly.

3. Persons with Disabilities

The rights and interests of the disabled should be protected, their value be respected and potentials be utilized. This is a major indicator of a civilized and progressing society. The disabled are entitled to equal rights and their rights should be realized through development.

China supports the UN in developing a convention on the rights of persons with disabilities at an early date and also takes an active part in the Ad Hoc Committee. China stands ready to have exchanges and cooperation with the rest of the international community for the early completion and entry into force of such a convention so as to contribute to the cause for the disabled throughout the world.

China attaches great importance to the cause for the disabled. It has promulgated the Law on the Protection of Disabled Persons in addition to other related laws and regulations and has integrated the development program for disabled persons into its overall national development plan.

4. Public Health Security

The transnational nature and potential harm of public health security issue, which could pose a non-traditional security threat, are becoming more pronounced in the context of rapid economic globalization.

The international community should increase their cooperation in response to public health threats on the basis of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit. Countries, the developing ones in particular, need to enhance their capacity building in public health and establish a sound global public health security response mechanism. The developed countries have the obligation to provide the developing ones with technology and financial assistance so as to help them strengthen capacity building in this regard.

China maintains the international community takes follow-up actions and implements the resolutions on public health capacity building adopted respectively at the 58th Session of the UN General Assembly and the 60th Session of UNESCAP.

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