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Statement by Ambassador Wang Yingfan, Permanent Representative of China to the UN, At the 56th Session of the General Assembly on the Report of the Secretary-General on the Work of the Organization (24/09/01)
2004/04/19
Mr. President,

First of all, please allow me to extend my warmest congratulations on your election to the presidency of this session of the General Assembly.  I am confident that with your wisdom and experience as well as the support and cooperation of all Member States, this session will be able to fulfill its tasks.  I wish to take this opportunity to express our appreciation and gratitude to your predecessor, Mr. Harri Holkeri, for his important contribution to promoting reforms and revitalizing the work of the General Assembly.  I would also like to thank the Secretary-General for his comprehensive and informative annual report on the work of the United Nations, which covers all aspects of this Organization's work in the past one year and deserves our full attention and consideration.

Mr. President,
Before making comments about the Secretary-General's report, I want to reiterate China's support for submitting the issue of "Measures to eliminate international terrorism" (item 166) to the General Assembly for consideration.  The September 11 terrorist attacks in New York and Washington have once again demonstrated that at present terrorism is a salient problem and has become a major threat to international peace and security and that all countries in the world should strengthen cooperation and make joint efforts, for the sake of their common interests, to prevent and combat all forms of terrorist activities.  The United Nations should play an important role in this regard.  The Chinese Delegation is going to participate actively in relevant discussions and make its own contribution to strengthening international cooperation against terrorism.

Now I wish to share with you my views on a few questions related to the Secretary-General's report.

I. The Question of Peace.  Last September, the Millennium Summit of the United Nations made a commitment in explicit terms, in the Millennium Declaration it adopted, to being "determined to establish a just and lasting peace all over the world in accordance with the purposes and principles of the Charter" and "sparing no efforts to free our peoples from the scourge of war".  In the past one year, both the Security Council and the General Assembly have reviewed the Brahimi Report, actively explored effective ways of strengthening UN peace-keeping capacities and effectiveness.  The Secretariat has also been making adjustments and reforms accordingly.  At the same time, the Secretary-General and other parties concerned have stepped up their efforts to promote peace.  At present, in some regions, Africa in particular, UN peacekeeping efforts have achieved positive results.

However, the world is still far from peaceful.  People in many countries are still living in miseries caused by war and disturbances. Regional conflicts are occurring one after another due to ethnic, religious, and territorial disputes as well as the fight for resources.  A case in point here is the continuing conflict between Palestine and Israel, which has seriously undermined the regional peace and stability.  At the same time, issues such as drug trafficking and abuse, the deterioration of the environment, the spread of diseases and refugee problem have done more notable harms to security than before.  Rampant and unchecked activities by terrorists, separatists, and the extremists have caused more and more damages and posed a new challenge to peace and security.  It is, as always, an urgent and pertinent issue as to how to effectively maintain international peace and security.  

It is an indisputable fact that the overwhelming majority of today's conflicts occur in the economically underdeveloped countries and regions.  Extreme poverty has put a strong grip on economic development and social progress of those countries and regions, causing regional disturbances and even armed conflicts.  The international community, therefore, must strike at the roots of the problems and make earnest efforts to help developing countries to solve the more fundamental issue of economic backwardness--a primary catalyst for conflicts.  Past experience in conflict resolution in Asia, Africa, Latin America and Europe has demonstrated that the most effective way of conflict prevention and resolution and realizing lasting peace and common security is to resolve differences and disputes through dialogue, negotiation and consultation in strict accordance with the purposes and principles of the UN Charter.  This is the principle that must be always strictly followed in the process of preventing and resolving conflicts.

II. The Question of Disarmament.  A series of negative developments in recent years in the field of international security have led the multilateral disarmament and arms control process into a stalemate, a situation that has caused wide attention in the international community.

China agrees with the Secretary-General's analysis of the deployment of NMD and its consequences in his report: that is, the deployment of NMD will constitute a threat to the current and future disarmament and nonproliferation efforts.  The ABM Treaty not only involves the signatory countries but also bears critical importance and relevance to maintaining global strategic balance and stability as well as promoting international disarmament and non-proliferation process.  The success of the international disarmament and non-proliferation efforts depends on the preservation and observation of this treaty.  Both the 54th and 55th sessions of the General Assembly have adopted resolutions on "Preservation of and Compliance with the ABM Treaty" with an overwhelming majority, demonstrating that most countries in the world demand that the concerned countries must maintain and strictly abide by the ABM Treaty.  The United Nations should continue to scrutinize the development of NMD and take necessary steps to prevent this dangerous situation from going further.  

The development of an anti-missile system using the outer-space as a base, which will bring the arms race from the land and the oceans to the outer-space, has very serious consequences.  Therefore, it has become an urgent and relevant task to reach through negotiations an international legal instrument on the prevention of arms race in the outer-space.  The General Assembly has, for each of the past many years, adopted with an overwhelming majority a resolution on the prevention of arms race in the outer-space.  The Conference on Disarmament should make this an issue of priority and start relevant negotiations immediately.  It is the common aspiration of people of all countries in the world as well as an important task for the international community to promote nuclear disarmament process and realize a nuclear-weapon-free world at an early date. The 2000 Review Conference of the Parties to NPT was successfully convened and the final document it adopted has provided a clear guidance for the process of nuclear disarmament. The international community should take concrete steps to promote this process. The international community should also work together to promote the implementation of the Convention on Chemical Weapons and the Convention on Biological Weapons and remove artificial barriers so as to realize the goals of comprehensive prohibition and thorough destruction of these two types of weapons of mass destruction at an early date.  

III. The Question of Development.  The question of development, in parallel with the question of peace, is another major issue facing the world today.  Promoting development is an essential task for the United Nations in this new millennium. In the past one year when all countries have been looking forward to "ensuring that globalization becomes a positive force for all the world's people", the situation of developing countries has become more serious rather than improved.  The challenges they face have increased rather than decreased.  The gap between the developing and the developed countries is widening rather than narrowing.  The information poverty in the developing countries has deteriorated.  All this has seriously bottlenecked the development of developing countries as well as the sustained development of developed countries.  It has also posed potential threat to international stability.  We appreciate new efforts by the United Nations to help countries to pursue the development goals and launch the projects of priority and eradicate poverty.  But at the same time, we have also noticed that, compared to other fields, the UN's input in the field of development is seriously insufficient. This situation must be changed.  

As humanity steps into the new century, countries have placed even higher expectations on the United Nations.  The UN must play a more active and greater role in eradicating poverty, narrowing the North-South gap and promoting universal prosperity. As Paragraph 129 of the Secretary-General's report indicates, to achieve the goals of development and poverty eradication, efforts must be made to accelerate the economic growth of developing countries and at the same time targeted attention must be focused on narrowing the gap between the rich and the poor countries.  We hope the United Nations will work actively towards establishing a new international economic order featuring equal cooperation and common development, so as to ensure that economic globalization benefit the international community as a whole.  We also hope the United Nations will dedicate efforts to change the situation in which the international economic affairs are in most cases undemocratically dominated by a few countries, and reforming the international financial and trade system so as to ensure the equal participation of developing countries.  At the same time, developed countries should, in consideration of their long-term interests, take concrete steps to open markets, transfer technologies and increase the Official Development Assistance (ODA) to developing countries and reduce or exempt the latter's debts, so as to create favorable conditions for their own sustained development in the future.  Furthermore, the United Nations and the rest of the international community should take real action to meet the special needs of the least developed countries, the African countries in particular and help them to strengthen their capacity building, eradicate poverty and to tackle the issue of the spread of HIV/AIDS. Efforts should be made to expand the existing initiatives of debt reduction and exemption and provide market access with more favorable terms for developing countries.  

The Millennium Declaration has put forward many specific goals and developed countries have also made many pledges in this regard at the Third UN Conference on the Issue of the Least Developed Countries, which is being held today.  We wish to appeal to the international community to join hands to realize these goals, to which developed countries in particular should make positive contributions.

Thank you, Mr. President.
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