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China voices support for multilateralism at UN conference

Updated: Jul 18,2020 08:55 AM    Xinhua

BEIJING — China supports multilateral frameworks, including the United Nations, in tackling challenges and seeking common prosperity, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi said on July 17.

He made the remarks in a speech titled "Firmly Uphold Multilateralism and Build a Community with a Shared Future for Mankind" at a high-level conversation of the United Nations Economic and Social Council, "Multilateralism after COVID-19: what kind of UN do we need at the 75th anniversary?"

"Seventy-five years ago, our fathers' generation won the epic victory of the World anti-Fascist War following a heroic struggle," Wang said, adding that the ensuing decades witnessed the founding of the United Nations which has played an indispensable role in maintaining peace and promoting development.

Seventy-five years on, the world has seen profound shifts, accentuated by the enormous impact of COVID-19, he said.

The myriad challenges before the international community have driven home the fact that this is an era of inter-connected interests of all countries, and the world is "increasingly an indivisible community with a shared future," he said.

In the face of unprecedented changes in a century, the role of the UN can only be strengthened, instead of being weakened, while its authority must be safeguarded, Wang said.

The world needs a United Nations that safeguards world peace and security, and fairness and justice, a United Nations that advocates harmonious co-existence across different races, systems and cultures, a United Nations that champions common development by addressing the North-South gap, and a United Nations that keeps abreast of the times and effectively responds to global challenges, Wang said.

Wang put forward four proposals as following:

First, the world needs to uphold multilateralism and reject unilateralism and protectionism. "We must always stand on the side of multilateralism and international justice. We must uphold the international system built around the UN, safeguard the World Trade Organization-centered multilateral trading regime and speed up the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. We need to say no to unilateralism. We need to oppose any act of walking away from international organizations and treaties or replacing them with something out of nowhere. No one should challenge or undermine universally recognized rules out of selfish interests," he said.

Second, the world needs to support greater democracy in international relations and reject hegemonism and power politics. "Issues that matter internationally must be addressed through consultation between nations and governments. Any country claiming that its own interests should always come first and be placed above the common interests of the global community is doomed to failure. The basic norms governing international relations, such as respect for national sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity and non-interference in internal affairs, must be observed by all," he said.

"Countries, irrespective of their size, strength and wealth, are equal. Consultation, cooperation and benefit for all should be our guiding principle," he said, adding that "dialogue and consultation should be the way forward in addressing differences and disputes, rather than unwarranted unilateral actions such as economic blockade, financial sanctions, acts of bullying and power politics, and still less gross interference in other countries' internal affairs," he said.

Third, the world needs to safeguard the international order underpinned by international law and reject unlawful acts and double standards. "We must firmly uphold the purposes and principles of the UN Charter. We need one single set of rules, not double standards or selective application of these rules. It is unacceptable to use the rule of law as a pretext to infringe on the legitimate rights and interests of other countries or even undermine peace and stability," Wang said.

Fourth, the world needs to call for solidarity and cooperation and reject self-conceit and beggar-thy-neighbor practices. "In fighting the disease, we must always follow a people-first approach and put saving lives above all else. The world needs to come together and give the World Health Organization full support in playing its statutory role. Any politicization, stigmatization or name-calling associated with the virus must be rejected, so should scapegoating and blame-shifting," he added.

China is a firm proponent and practitioner of multilateralism, which has all along supported the UN in playing an active role, upheld its authority and stature, Wang said.

In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, China fully supports the work of the UN, and will fully deliver on the actions announced by President Xi Jinping at the 73rd World Health Assembly so as to contribute to the global efforts against the pandemic within its capability, he said.

China is ready to work with all parties in keeping with the trend of the times and guided by multilateralism, and build an open, inclusive, clean and beautiful post-COVID-19 world that enjoys lasting peace, security and prosperity for all, he said.