Remarks at the High-Level Meeting to Commemorate the 75th Anniversary of the United Nations
H.E. Xi Jinping, President of the People’s Republic of China
Beijing, 21 September 2020
Seventy-five years ago, the people of the world, with strenuous struggle and tremendous sacrifice, won the great victory in the World Anti-Fascist War. It was indeed a victory for justice and a victory for the people.
Through the first half of the last century, mankind had suffered the scourge of two devastating wars that brought untold sufferings to the world. It was against such a backdrop that the United Nations (UN) came into being. Over the ensuing 75 years, this Organization has traveled an extraordinary journey. A new chapter has thus opened for peace and development in the world.
– The 75 years since the founding of the UN has seen dramatic progress in human society. We have experienced significant and across-the-board progress in science and technology and in industrial revolution. We are now embracing a new round of even more extensive and substantial scientific and technological revolution and industrial transformation. Globally, social productivity has been unprecedentedly unleashed and boosted. Mankind has never been so powerfully capable to overcome the difficulties we face and change the world we live in.
– The 75 years since the founding of the UN has witnessed profound changes in the international situation. A great many developing countries have gained national liberation and independence. Over a billion people have walked out of poverty. And a population of several billion have embarked on a path toward modernization. These achievements have considerably strengthened the force for peace and development in the world and transformed the international landscape in a most far-reaching way.
– The 75 years since the founding of the UN has been a period of rapid development of multilateralism. Problems facing the world are big and many, and global challenges are on the increase. They should and can only be resolved through dialogue and cooperation. International affairs ought to be addressed through consultation among us all. The understanding that we are all in the same boat is now a popular consensus in the global community.
After the storm comes the rainbow. The UN has stood one test after another and emerged with renewed vigor and vitality. The UN embodies the aspiration of the over seven billion people for a better life, and the UN Charter remains an important guarantee for world peace and development.
Major changes unseen in a century are taking place in our world. The sudden attack of COVID-19 is a grave test for the entire world. Mankind has entered a new era of interconnectedness, with countries sharing intertwined interests and their future closely linked together. Global threats and global challenges require strong, global responses.
In the face of new realities and challenges, we must do some serious thinking: What kind of UN is needed for the world? How should the Organization play its role in the post-COVID era? Let me share some of my thoughts with you.
First, the UN must stand firm for justice. Mutual respect and equality among all countries, big or small, represents the progress of our times and is the foremost principle of the UN Charter. No country has the right to dominate global affairs, control the destiny of others, or keep advantages in development all to itself. Even less should one be allowed to do whatever it likes and be the hegemon, bully or boss of the world. Unilateralism is a dead end. All need to follow the approach of extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits. All need to come together to uphold universal security, share the fruits of development, and jointly decide on the future of the world. It is imperative that the representation and voice of developing countries be increased so that the UN could be more balanced in reflecting the interests and wishes of the majority of countries in the world.
Second, the UN must uphold the rule of law. The purposes and principles of the UN Charter are the fundamental guidelines for handling international relations. They constitute a cornerstone of stable international order and must be unswervingly kept and upheld. Relations among countries and coordination of their interests must only be based on rules and institutions; they must not be lorded over by those who wave a strong fist at others. Big countries should lead by example in advocating and upholding the international rule of law and in honoring their commitments. There must be no practice of exceptionalism or double standards. Nor should international law be distorted and used as a pretext to undermine other countries’ legitimate rights and interests or world peace and stability.
Third, the UN must promote cooperation. To promote cooperation among countries is a founding mission of the UN and an important purpose spelt out in the UN Charter. Cold War mentality, ideological lines or zero-sum game are no solution to a country’s own problem, still less an answer to mankind’s common challenges. What we need to do is to replace conflict with dialogue, coercion with consultation and zero-sum with win-win. We need to pursue the common interests of all as we each work to safeguard our own interests. We need to expand the converging interests of all and build a big global family of harmony and cooperation.
Fourth, the UN must focus on real action. To put into practice the principle of multilateralism, we must act, not just talk. There must be a cure, not just a therapy. The UN should aim at problem solving and move toward tangible outcomes as it advances security, development and human rights in parallel. In particular, as the UN advances its 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, priority should be given to addressing non-traditional security challenges such as public health; the issue of development should be highlighted in the global macro framework; and there should be a greater emphasis on the promotion and protection of the rights to subsistence and development.
China was the first to sign on the Charter of the United Nations. It is a founding member of the UN and the only developing country that takes a permanent seat on the Security Council. China will continue to be a true follower of multilateralism. It will stay actively engaged in reforming and developing the global governance system. It will firmly uphold the UN-centered international system, firmly uphold the international order underpinned by international law, and firmly defend the UN’s central role in international affairs.
The world now stands at a new historical starting point. Let us renew our firm commitment to multilateralism, work to promote a community with a shared future for mankind, and rally behind the banner of the UN to pursue greater unity and progress.
I thank you.