Working in the Same Direction to Build Peace Together
Remarks by H.E. Wang Yi Special Representative of President Xi Jinping and State Councilor and Foreign Minister of the People’s Republic of China at the United Nations Security Council High-Level Open Debate “Enhancing Cooperation Between the United Nations and Regional and Subregional Organizations”
19 April 2021
Secretary-General António Guterres,
China supports Vietnam’s initiative of convening this High-level Open Debate. I welcome President Nguyễn Xuân Phúc’s chairing of the Debate and thank Secretary-General Guterres for his briefing.
Cooperation with regional organizations by the UN is an express requirement of the UN Charter and an important manifestation of multilateralism. As the world struggles against the shock waves from the profound changes in the international landscape compounded by the once-in-a-century pandemic, we face pronounced challenges to international peace and security and complex interplay of traditional and non-traditional security issues. All this calls for joint efforts from both the regional and global levels. It requires the UN and regional organizations to work together to assess the past, draw lessons, carry forward fine traditions, strive for creativity, uphold multilateralism, and contribute to world peace and global development. In this context, I wish to share a few thoughts:
First, it is crucial to observe the norms and cement the foundation for peace. The whole body of these norms is the UN Charter, the bedrock of cooperation between the UN and regional organizations. In conducting peace operations, regional organizations need to observe the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, respect sovereignty and territorial integrity of the countries concerned, and avoid interfering in those countries’ internal affairs. The peaceful settlement of dispute should be pursued whenever possible, and the use or threat of force must be rejected. The role of the Security Council as the core of the international collective security mechanism must be upheld, and self-centered practices must be abandoned. We must advocate openness and inclusiveness. Geopolitics, bloc politics and any provocation of ideological confrontation must be rejected. Only by following these principles can regional organizations’ efforts succeed and sustain.
Second, it is imperative to prioritize prevention and diversify the tools for upholding peace. The UN and regional organizations need to follow a security concept that promotes common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security, and diversify the toolkit for peace with preventive diplomacy as the priority. Peace talks should be encouraged to narrow differences through dialogue, resolve disputes through mediation, and find a political settlement of hotspot issues. It is also important to make good use of UN peacekeeping operations, uphold the principle of impartiality, and respect the will and choice of the people of the countries concerned. Enforcement operations must be authorized by the UN Security Council.
Third, it is important to complement each other and create a synergy for peace. The UN and its Security Council need to serve as effective coordinators and provide more assistance to regional organizations. Regional organizations, in turn, should leverage their own strengths to help address regional disputes in a way suited to regional realities. The two sides may share experience and best practices and engage in flexible and pragmatic cooperation. In recent years, the UN has been moving in the right direction by stepping up coordination with regional organizations such as the AU and ASEAN. The UN should help Africa enhance its own capacity for peacekeeping, stability and counter-terrorism, and accelerate the development of the African Standby Force, the rapid response forces, and an early-warning mechanism. It should provide sustainable and predictable financing assistance to AU’s peace and security operations, and support “Silencing the Guns in Africa” initiative. The international community should respect and uphold ASEAN centrality in East Asian cooperation. Under the current circumstances, supporting ASEAN’s constructive participation in Myanmar’s domestic reconciliation process in an ASEAN way and de-escalating tensions in Myanmar as soon as possible serves the interests of the people of Myanmar and the international community.
Fourth, it is essential to pursue common development and prepare the ground for peace. For many regional hotspots, the ultimate way out lies in development. The UN and regional organizations need to fully appreciate the significance of development in promoting peace, take an integrated approach to peace keeping, peace building and post-war reconstruction, and help countries in need access timely development funds and resources. In essence, the fulfillment of the 2030 Agenda, better lives and employment, and narrowing development gaps are the best policies for long-term peace and security. In this connection, inter-regional cooperation and connectivity and efforts to integrate post-conflict countries into regional development have great significance as they can bring the dividends of peace to all.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the restoration of China’s lawful seat at the United Nations. Throughout the five decades, China has been an active supporter to and participant in the cause of the UN, and a firm defender and practitioner of the UN Charter. China has also consistently supported and actively contributed to stronger cooperation between the UN and regional and sub-regional organizations. In fact, a considerable portion of China’s UN Peace and Development Trust Fund has gone to support regional and sub-regional organizations. China has announced to donate 300,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines to UN peacekeepers, with priority given to missions in Africa. We would also support it if these vaccines are to be used for peacekeeping missions by regional and sub-regional organizations.
To date, China has established strategic partnerships with regional organizations including the AU, ASEAN and the Arab League. The partnerships are founded on our common understanding of a shared future and are consistent with the purposes and principles of the UN Charter. Guided by the principles of extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits, our partnerships aim for win-win cooperation. They are never targeted against any third party.
China has been promoting cooperation with the AU in the spirit of pursuing the greater good and shared interests and according to the principle of sincerity, real results, affinity, and good faith. A few months ago, we signed the Belt and Road cooperation plan with the AU, and will continue to forge synergy between the Belt and Road Initiative, AU’s Agenda 2063 and UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. China supports AU’s leading role in the African integration process, and encourages the AU to find African solutions to African issues and make continuous contributions to peace and development in the region.
China has been pushing forward its ties with ASEAN guided by the principles of amity, sincerity, mutual benefit and inclusiveness. We will continue to work for progress on the political security, economic and socio-cultural fronts, support ASEAN centrality in regional cooperation, and build a closer China-ASEAN community with a shared future.
China has been advancing Belt and Road cooperation with the Arab League and set out the guiding principles of peace, innovation, guidance, governance and integration. China is a committed builder of peace, promoter of development, facilitator of industrialization, supporter of stability, and partner of people-to-people exchanges in the Middle East. We will continue to advance economic and trade cooperation with the Arab League, enhance political trust, increase inter-civilization exchanges, and build a community with a shared future based on common convictions and pursuits, featuring tranquility and harmony and in pursuit of development and prosperity.
In view of the unprecedented changes that the world is going through, China stands ready to enhance cooperation with regional organizations, work in the same direction to uphold peace together and build a community with a shared future for mankind.