Remarks by Ambassador Geng Shuang at the Security Council Open VTC Meeting on Threats to International Peace and Security Caused by Terrorist Acts
24 August 2020
I thank USG Voronkov and Executive Director Coninsx for their briefings. We welcome the 11th report by the Secretary-General on the threat posed by ISIL to international peace and security.
The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the profound changes the world is undergoing and the severe challenges the mankind is facing. Inequalities within and between countries have been laid bare. Ignorance, anxiety, stigma, and politicization that come with the pandemic have led to hatred and xenophobia, which have been aggravated and amplified by the popular use of social media. Although the pandemic appears to have temporarily reduced the risks of terrorist attacks, the socio-economic fallout from the crisis have the potential to exacerbate conditions conducive to terrorism. It could feed into a vicious circle of destabilization and violence, and increase the mid-term to long-term threat, which ISIL and other terrorist organizations are keen to explore and exploit.
According to the SG report, amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the world is witnessing a surge of activities of terrorist organizations such as ISIL in Iraq and Syria to rebuild their global operation capability. Terrorists including ISIL are also infiltrating into North Africa, in particular Libya, worsening regional turbulence. ISIL has also announced that they may use virus as a biological weapon to launch terrorist attacks. Member States must remain highly vigilant to all these dangerous developments.
Facing the unprecedented challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic and the common enemy of terrorism, we must bear in mind that we humankind is a community with a shared future and we should strengthen cooperation to jointly address the threat facing us.
First, international counter-terrorism cooperation should follow the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, and continue to leverage the central coordinating role of the UN and the Security Council with unified standards. In fighting terrorism, we must respect the primary responsibility of Member States and the sovereignty of the countries concerned. We should comprehensively implement relevant Security Council and GA resolutions and the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy. During and after the COVID-19 pandemic, we need to further promote multilateralism and strengthen international cooperation in a joint effort to fight terrorism.
Second, we must adopt integrated policies to address the root causes as well as the symptoms of terrorism to eradicate its breeding grounds. The international community should push for political settlement of hot-spot issues, resolve differences peacefully, assist Member States in poverty reduction and eradication and sustainable development, and encourage dialogue among civilizations and religions. We should support regional organizations such as the AU to play an important role. Assistance should be given to developing countries, especially African countries, to help build capacity for counter-terrorism and de-radicalization. There is an urgent need for the international community to strengthen cooperation in fighting and overcoming COVID-19 and reduce its impact on terrorist threat.
Third, it is important to enhance international judicial cooperation and adapt it to the new trends and features of terrorism. We should focus on the key issues, such as the Foreign Terrorist Fighters, the diversified means of terrorist financing, the misuse of the Internet and communication technologies by terrorists, and the collusion of terrorist organizations with organized crime. We should attach great importance to the impact of COVID-19 on counter-terrorism, and take timely measures to prevent terrorists from exploiting loopholes caused by the pandemic.
Fourth, mechanisms such as UN Office of Counter Terrorism, Counter Terrorism Committee, the 1267 Committee should increase coordination and fully leverage their strengths and expertise to form greater synergy. UN counter-terrorism mechanisms should act in strict accordance with the relevant resolutions and rules of procedure. They need to enhance communication with Member States; strengthen coordination among themselves in terrorist threat assessment, capacity-building of Member States, and use of sanctions; maintain the authority and effectiveness of the counter-terrorism and sanctions regimes; and contribute more to international counter-terrorism efforts. These mechanisms should readjust their working methods during the pandemic, and make better use of online platforms to carry out their work according to the needs of Member States.
As an important player in the international fight against terrorism, China resolutely implements all relevant UN resolutions. We actively participate in international and regional counter-terrorism cooperation through the UN, the SCO and other fora. We work closely with other Member States in sharing intelligence and combating terrorist financing, transnational organized crime and cyber terrorism. China will work with the international community to analyze in depth the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on global terrorist activities, and continue to have bilateral and multilateral exchange and capacity building cooperation with other countries, especially developing countries, including those in Africa. We will continue to provide political and financial support to UN counter-terrorism efforts for the maintenance of international peace and security.
China firmly rejects the accusation against China by certain members of the Council. It is baseless and absurd as usual. Terrorism is our common enemy. There is no such thing as good or bad terrorists. China is firmly opposed to politicization and double standard in counter-terrorism.
The situation in Xinjiang is totally China’s internal affairs. It is not a religion issue or a human rights issue. Rather, it is about counter-terrorism and anti-extremism. Xinjiang has suffered deeply from terrorism and violent extremism in the past. To address the threat, Xinjiang has taken a series of preventive counter-terrorism and de-radicalization measures. This is consistent with SC resolutions, the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, and the UN Plan of Action to Prevent Violent Extremism. These measures are widely supported by the people in Xinjiang and have yielded good results. Xinjiang has not seen a single terror incident in the past three years. Facts speak louder than words. Anyone that is fair-minded can tell right from wrong. Since late 2018, more than 70 foreign delegations have visited Xinjiang. They see first-hand a stable, thriving and developing Xinjiang, and agree that counter-terrorism and de-radicalization efforts have made this possible.
However, it is regrettable that the United States chooses to ignore basic facts, and repeat its rhetoric and keep smearing and discrediting the counter-terrorism and de-radicalization efforts in Xinjiang. We urge the United States to listen to the international community, admit facts, give up bigotry and double standard, and stop interfering in China’s internal affairs by using human rights as an excuse.
If the United States truly cares about human rights, it should do its own job first. Please protect the human rights of the American people. Please step up effort to combat COVID-19 to safeguard lives and health of the American people. In addition, the UK followed the US again in putting up unfounded charges against China in the Council. China is strongly opposed to it. The baseless remarks of the UK are sheer hypocrisy and double standard. We urge the UK to fix its own problems and stop interfering in China’s internal affairs.
Lastly, I would like to emphasize that China is determined to safeguard its sovereignty, security and development interests. No interference against China will succeed, and no one can stop China’s progress.
Thank you, Mr. President.