Speech by H.E. Councilor Yang Jiechi at the Reception for the 45th Anniversary of the Restoration of the Lawful Seat of the People’s Republic of China in the United Nations
Beijing, 25 October 2016
Your Excellency Under-Secretary-General Jeffery Feltman,
Your Excellency Ambassador Victor Sikonina,
Representatives of the UN System,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The month of October brings us a golden autumn and a season of harvest. We gather here today for the important occasion of celebrating the 45th anniversary of the restoration of the lawful rights of the People’s Republic of China in the United Nations. Let me start by extending a warm welcome to all the guest attending today’s reception.
The day 45 years ago will always be remembered in history. On that day, by adopting Resolution 2758 with an overwhelming majority, the 1976th Plenary Meeting of the United Nations General Assembly voted to restore the lawful seat of the People’s Republic of China at the United Nations. This historic decision signifies a notable enhancement of the universality, representativeness and authority of the United Nations and forces for peace and development in the world and marks a new stage of China’s diplomatic engagement with the world. This is both a necessary step forward for world affairs and represents an inexorable trend of the times.
As a Chinese saying goes, “when drinking water from the well, one should not forget who dug it”. We will never forget the forerunners who worked tirelessly to restore the lawful seat of the New China, the friendly countries that “carried” the New China into the United Nations and the people from all quarters who have made unrelenting efforts to advance China-UN cooperation.
The past 45 years saw enormous changes in the international landscape. It has been a period of fast transformation and continued integration into the international community for China, and a period of enormous progress for the cause of the United Nations and for China-UN cooperation. The decision by the United Nations to restore the lawful seat of the New China 45 years ago has been fully borne out as the right strategic choice.
– For 45 years, China has been a contributor to world peace. In 1974, Mr. Deng Xiaoping made the unequivocal pledge at the United Nations that China would never be a hegemonic power. This statement was again reaffirmed by President Xi Jinping last year who declared at the United Nations that China will never seek hegemony, expansion or spheres of influence. Our words are always matched by our actions. In the pursuit of “dialogue and partnership rather than confrontation or alliance”, China has established partnerships with more than 80 countries and organizations. Committed to political settlement and dialogues and consultation, China has resolved boundary issues with 12 neighbors on land through negotiations and contributed Chinese wisdom to the handling of the Iranian nuclear issue, the Syrian issue, the issue of South Sudan, the Middle East peace process and the Afghan issue.
– For 45 years, China has been a facilitator of global development. Last month, China successfully hosted the G20 Hangzhou Summit which brought development issues into the global macro policy framework for the first time, formulated the G20 Action Plan on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and launched the G20 Initiative on Supporting Industrialization in Africa and Least Developed Countries, injecting strong impetus into global development.
We have also released the National Plan on the Implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. China has made important contribution to the conclusion and implementation of the Paris Agreement on climate change, and has deposited its instrument of ratification with the UN Secretary-General. We have vigorously pursued the Belt and Road Initiative, signed relevant cooperation agreements with over 30 countries and international organizations, and initiated a large number of early harvest projects. By the end of last year, China had provided assistance worth over RMB 400 billion for 166 countries and international and regional organizations.
– For 45 years, China has been a proponent of the international order. As the first country to sign the UN Charter, China has been firmly committed to the international order and system with the purposes and principle of the UN Charter at its core and staunchly upheld international rule of law. So far, China has concluded over 24,000 bilateral treaties, acceded to nearly 500 multilateral treaties, and earnestly fulfilled treaty obligations. In recent years, China has actively advanced the negotiation and formulation of international rules in emerging areas such as cyberspace, deep sea, polar areas, outer space, nuclear security, anti-corruption and climate change, and contributed its wisdom to international rule of law.
– For 45 years, China has been a supporter of the UN cause. China has been the largest contributor of peacekeepers among the five permanent members of the Security Council. We take up the biggest share of UN membership fees and peacekeeping assessment among developing countries. China took the lead among UN member states in achieving the Millennium Development Goals and lifted more people out of poverty than any other country. During President Xi Jinping’s visit to the UN headquarters last year and Premier Li Keqiang’s visit this year, a host of new measures were announced to support the United Nations, which will be fully implemented. The China-UN Peace and Development Fund has been officially put into operation. The composition plan of the peacekeeping standby force of 8,000 troops has been drawn up. The permanent peacekeeping police squad has started training. The Assistance Fund for South-South Cooperation will be launched by the end of this year. And the “Six 100s” initiative for developing countries and other measures are being carried out.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
With both China and the United Nations entering a new, crucial stage of development, a new chapter will be opened in China-UN relations, and China will make fresh and still greater contribution to the United Nations.
– China will stick to the path of peaceful development. China will stay committed to the independent foreign policy of peace, actively build a new model of international relations featuring win-win cooperation, advocate and follow a new vision of common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security, and continue to consolidate international peace and security.
– China will stick to the path of common development. China will stay committed to the win-win strategy of opening-up, and reject any beggar-thy-neighbor practice that serves one’s own interests at the cost of others. China will follow a balanced approach to friendship and interests, share its development experience and opportunities with the rest of the world, and align the Chinese dream with the aspirations of people around the world.
– China will stick to the path of cooperative development. China will stay actively involved in international cooperation to fully implement the sustainable development agenda and the Belt and Road Initiative, and work with others to further develop such new multilateral financial institutions as the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank to provide more public goods.
– China will stick to the path of multilateralism. China will continue to support the United Nations in playing a central role in international affairs and take an active part in UN activities in the various fields of security, development, human rights, social affairs, legal affairs, arms control and disarmament. China’s vote at the United Nations will always go to developing countries and for that matter, peace and justice.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Ours is a time featured by a strong call for peace and stability over war and turmoil as well as an urgent yearning of people around the globe for development and prosperity.
In the world today, regional conflicts keep flaring up; global challenges like refugees crisis and terrorism remain prominent; global economic growth is weak; climate change poses a daunting challenge; and imbalance in development has yet to be fundamentally addressed, making the realizing of strong, sustainable, balanced and inclusive growth a complicated and incremental process.
That said, our views will not be blocked by temporary challenges, and the right path shall prevail. As long as the international community stays committed and united in pursuing a shared future, we will be able to seize opportunities, resolve challenges and achieve the lofty ideals of the United Nations. People around the world have high expectations of the United Nations.
– The United Nations should remain the cornerstone for world and regional peace. The concept of win-win cooperation is in line with the spirit of the UN Charter and has been written into UN documents. The United Nations should call on all parties to replace the outdated mentality of zero-sum game and confrontation with the new vision of win-win cooperation. This will enable all parties to “live together in peace with one another as good neighbors.” Protracted regional hotspot issues such as Syria and South Sudan have affected regional and international peace and stability. The United Nations should urge relevant parties to uphold the purposes and principles of the UN Charter by valuing peace, turning sword into plowshare, and looking for negotiated solutions that accommodate the interests of all.
– The United Nations should remain the bedrock of greater development in the world. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development outlines a new vision for global development. The United Nations should coordinate and guide efforts of its member states to develop synergy between the Agenda and their domestic development strategies, and draw their attention to poverty eradication, health, education and other livelihood issues on a priority basis. It is important that the United Nations push for follow-ups to the Paris Agreement, which will enter into force soon, and call on all parties to observe the principles of common but differentiated responsibilities, fairness and respective capabilities and respond more effectively to climate change.
– The United Nations should remain the pacesetter for improving global governance. It meets the widely shared aspiration of UN member states, the developing members in particular, to foster a global governance system that is more equitable, just, inclusive and rule-based. In this regard, the United Nations should take the lead in speaking up for and acting in the interests of developing countries. With over one quarter of its membership coming from Africa, the United Nations should direct more attention to Africa, listen to its voice, deliver benefits to it, and increase its representation and say. This is the key to global peace and development and what international responsibility and justice is about.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
A line from a Chinese poem reads, “A time will come to ride the wind and cleave the waves, I’ll set my cloudlike sail to cross the sea which raves.” Inspired by such a spirit, China will work with the United Nations and all other countries to advance the lofty cause of peace and development for mankind.