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III. China and the Special Commission on UN Charter

The Special Commission on the UN Charter and Strengthening the Role of the Organization (Special Commission on the Charter) held its due session at the UN Headquarters in New York from April 10 to 20, 2000. The session elected Seyyed of Iran as Chairman. The Chinese Delegation attended the session. The major agenda items of the session were : (1) On the Maintenance of International Peace and Security for Strengthening the Role of the Organization; (2) On the Settlement of International Disputes by Peaceful Means; (3) On the Trusteeship Council; (4) On the Improvement of the Working Methods of the Special Commission and New Items.

(1) On the Maintenance of International Peace and Security for Strengthening the Role of the Organization

On the issue of assisting affected third states due to the application of sanction measures provided for in Chapter VII of the Charter, this session primarily discussed the suggestions and research findings of the meeting of the Ad Hoc Experts Group. The majority of the states felt that based on the the findings of the experts group, the session should work out as soon as possible a set of methods for appraising the consequences of preventive or mandatory measures to the third states, including the setting up of a trust fund and a permanent consultative mechanism. The Hungarian delegate moved to review the report of the experts group paragraph by paragraph to further find out the views and attitudes of the states. However, this was opposed by the US and the UK. They felt that before the feasibility report of the Secretary General and the conclusion of the Informal Working Group on Sanctions of the Security Council were made public, any substantive discussion lacked guidance and was futile. Finally, the Ukrainian delegate proposed that substantive discussion of this issue be undertaken at the 55th General Assembly and at the same time the Secretary General should make clear his view as soon as possible. This proposal was seconded by the participating states at the session.

On the revised working paper entitled "Basic Conditions and Criteria for the Introduction of Sanctions and Other Coercive Measures and Their Application" submitted by Russia, the majority of states supported its reviewing paragraph by paragraph and felt that on the one hand the document strictly regularized acts of sanction and on the other hand satisfied as much as possible the humanitarian concerns related to sanctions and was the basis for further discussions. However, a small number of western states were lukewarm to the proposal. Though they agreed to its reviewing paragraph by paragraph, in their statements they did not affirm its main theme.

With regard to the working paper entitled "Key Elements of the Legal Basis for UN Peacekeeping Operations within the Scope of Chapter VI of the UN Charter" submitted by Russia, due to strong opposition of the western states, the session could not undertake its substantive discussion. The US, the UK and other states stressed that discussion of this issue by the Special Commission on the Charter would overlap the work of the Special Commission on Peacekeeping Operations. However, the majority of states including China and Russia held that the Special Commission on the Charter was discussing the formulation of standard and rules on the legal plane, its role could not be substituted. Russia proposed the consideration of setting up of a joint working group by the Special Commission on the Charter and the Special Commission on Peacekeeping Operations. But the secretariat rejected the proposal on the grounds of no precedent.

On the working paper on Cuba and Libya, as it concerned the reform of the United Nations, there existed wide divergent views among the states; no progress was made.

(2) On Peaceful Settlement of International Disputes

Both Sierra Leone and the UK had each submitted a working paper. At this session, they jointly submitted an informal working paper, emphasizing the full use of the existing dispute settlement mechanism, which won the endorsement of the states members. The session completed the first reading of the document.

(3) On the Trusteeship Council

On the current status and future of the Trusteeship Council, the attitudes of the states had basically not changed. As this issue was related to the revision of the Charter and the reform of the United Nations, it would be difficult to reach an agreement within a short time. Some delegates suggested that the review of this issue could be held once every other year instead of once every year.

(4) On the Improvement of the Working Methods of the Special Commission and New Items

Under this item, Japan submitted a working paper entitled "Ways and Means for Improving the Working Methods of the Special Commission and Enhancing Its Efficiency". The states unanimously felt that this document could be taken as the basis for discussions and finished its first reading. However, the western states hoped to use the drafting of this document to weaken the role of the Special Commission whereas the developing states hoped to use this to consolidate and strengthen its role. Therefore, both sides had serious argument and difference on specific clauses. Due to time constraint, this session did not discuss the issue of new items.

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