By Chen Xiaodong
Our world is changing in profound ways, compounded by a pandemic unseen in a century. Mankind faces severe challenges and difficult choices.
At such a critical juncture bearing on the future of the world, it is significant and highly relevant that leaders of different countries have for the first time attended the virtual summits commemorating the 75th anniversary of the UN to explore the ways for world development.
Over the past 75 years, the UN has written a brilliant chapter of peace and development in the annals of human history, representing the trend of progress and the right direction of human development.
Unfortunately, a certain country wilfully walks away from its international commitments, withdraws from international treaties and organisations, and recklessly pursues unilateralism, protectionism and bullying, seriously undermining multilateralism, free trade and international fairness and justice, and jeopardising the common interests of the international community, including China and South Africa.
Global threats and challenges call for a strong global response. It is more imperative than ever for the international community to strengthen solidarity and co-ordination, promote win-win co-operation and build a stronger UN.
Just as President Xi Jinping pointed out during the UN Summits, all countries around the world are facing critical choices as to what kind of UN is needed for the world and how should it play its role in the post-Covid-19 era.
In this context, President Xi proposed that the UN must stand firm for justice, uphold the rule of law, promote co-operation and focus on real action.
It has made clear China’s position of supporting the cause of the UN and defending multilateralism, pointed out the right direction for practising multilateralism and building a community with a shared future for mankind, and injected confidence into all countries’ efforts to achieve greater solidarity and progress under the banner of the UN.
President Xi’s proposals are consistent with the purposes and principles of the UN Charter and represent China’s renewed interpretations under the current circumstances.
China will remain committed to firmly upholding multilateralism.
As a founding member of the UN and the first country to put its signature on the UN Charter, China has always been steadfastly upholding the international system with the UN at its core, the international order based on international law, and the central role played by the UN in international affairs. President Cyril Ramaphosa said that only through multilateralism can we figure out a response strategy that serves the common interests of all peoples. China is willing to work with South Africa and other African countries to uphold multilateralism and oppose unilateralism, and jointly support the UN and the World Health Organization (WHO) in playing a leading role in global anti-pandemic co-operation.
In his statement at the General Debate of the 75th Session of the UN General Assembly, President Xi announced that China would scale up its Intended Nationally Determined Contributions by adopting more vigorous policies and measures to curb CO2 emissions.
China aims to have CO2 emissions peak before 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality before 2060, which speaks volumes about China’s firm support for multilateralism and will inject strong positive energy into the multilateral process of addressing climate change.
China will remain committed to world peace and development.
President Xi emphasised during the UN Summits that China was the largest developing country in the world, with strong commitment to peaceful, open, co-operative and common development, and announced that China would extend the Peace and Development Trust Fund between the UN and China by five years after it expires in 2025 so as to support the UN in fully fulfilling its mandate.
China fully fulfils its obligations within the framework of the UN and has become the second largest contributor to the UN peacekeeping and regular budget. Some 75% of China’s peacekeeping dues are channelled to Africa, and 80% of China’s peacekeeping personnel are deployed in Africa.
Over 2000 Chinese peacekeepers are serving in seven African regions. Since 2008, China has sent 35 naval escort fleets to the waters off Somalia and the Gulf of Aden, escorting more than 6700 ships from other countries.
China will remain committed to building a community of health for all.
Covid-19 reminds us that we are living in an interconnected global village with a common stake.
All countries are closely connected and share a common future.
Facing the virus, we should enhance solidarity and get through this together. We should give full play to the leading role of the WHO, and launch a joint international response to defeat this pandemic.
Any attempt at politicising the issue or stigmatisation must be rejected.
During the summits, President Xi also announced that China would provide another $50 million to the UN Covid-19 Global Humanitarian Response Plan.
Upholding the vision of building a community with a shared future for mankind, China will continue to share its pandemic control practices as well as diagnostics and therapeutics with other countries, provide support and assistance to countries in need, ensure stable global anti-pandemic supply chains, and continue to work with other G20 members to implement the Debt Service Suspension Initiative for the Poorest Countries.
Now several Covid-19 vaccines developed by China are in phase III clinical trials. When they are available for use, we will make them a global public good, and they will be provided to other developing countries on a priority basis. This represents China’s important contributions to improving the accessibility and affordability of vaccines in developing countries.
China will remain committed to supporting the development of African countries. President Ramaphosa also called on the international community to support the comprehensive economic stimulus package for Africa so as to help African countries achieve economic recovery and growth at an early date.
As the only developing country among the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, China has always stood together with other developing countries and safeguarded our common interests.
China always honours its words with concrete actions. China will continue to show concern for and accommodate the need of developing countries, especially African countries.
The international community needs to take robust measures in such fields as debt relief and international assistance, ensure the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and help these countries overcome their difficulties.
China will provide $50m to the China-FAO South-South Co-operation Trust Fund (Phase III) and set up a UN Global Geospatial Knowledge and Innovation Centre and an International Research Centre of Big Data.
Just to quote President Ramaphosa’s remarks at the UN Summits, “as the international community, let us choose co-operation above unilateralism”. “Let us choose solidarity above isolation. Let us choose unity of purpose above narrow self-interest”.
China will remain a promoter of world peace, a contributor to global development, a defender of the international order and a provider of public goods.
China will work with Africa and other members of the international community to uphold multilateralism, give full play to the central role of the UN, and jointly build a community with a shared future for mankind.
* Chen is the Chinese ambassador-designate to South Africa.
** The views expressed here are not necessarily those of IOL.