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Statement by Ambassador Wang Guangya at the High-Level Dialogue on International Migration and Development
2006/09/15

2006/09/15

Mme. President,

First of all, please allow me to express, on behalf of the Chinese delegation, our warm congratulations on your assumption of the presidency of the current session of the General Assembly. It is of major significance for the United Nations to hold its first high-level dialogue on international migration and development. I am confident that your talents and skills will guide our meeting to successful completion.

Mme. President,

Migration has been in existence since antiquity. Over 2,000 years ago, exchanges of people and commodities were realized between Asia and Europe through the "Silk Road". Today, in the 21st century, with the continuous expansion of economic globalization and rapid progress of transportation and information technologies, it is much easier and faster than ever before for people to interact with each other. Reinforced regional economic cooperation has offered even wider platform for global population flow. It proves that the emergence of migration and the development of human society are closely linked.

Under the current circumstances, the number and the scale of international migration as well as the range of countries it covers and the impacts it produces on the economy of these countries have reached an unprecedented level. Migration has become a major force to accelerate the progress of human society. On the one hand, the normal flow of migration can help people broaden their horizons, promote economic and social development and cultural exchanges among countries, optimize allocation of human, technical and financial resources, and enhance state-to-state cooperation and common development. On the other, the surge of migration has also led to increasingly serous illegal immigrants, human trafficking and other transnational crisis, challenging social security and stability. Migration and development have thus become an important issue the international community must face squarely.

The Chinese delegation wishes to share with you the following views and proposals on how to correctly handle the migration issue and promote common development:

1. To solve the problems caused by migration, it is essential to find the root of these problems. The cause of migration lies in unbalanced economic and social development of different countries. In the world today, the dividends of globalization are not distributed equally, the gap between the North and the South is widening, the MDGs are yet to be realized, and many developing countries are being further marginalized. Therefore, to seek a lasting solution, it is necessary to gradually narrow the gap between the rich and poor countries, and realize common economic development and comprehensive social justice. The developed counties should fulfill their commitments in terms of financing, trade, debt relief, technologies and human resources, and help the developing countries in overcoming difficulties and enable them to achieve sustainable development. The developing countries should strengthen unity and build their capacities, reinforce South-South cooperation, learn from each other, and find the development road suitable to their own national conditions.

2. It is important to improve domestic policies, laws and regulations. At present, unreasonable restrictive domestic policies and measures of certain individual country have affected the normal and orderly flow of legal immigrants. Some countries have confused immigrant protection with illegal immigrants, and even added political elements to this issue. Countries should try to improve their migration policies, laws and regulations, protect the legitimate rights and interests of immigrants, oppose discriminative policies, and adhere to the principle of "opening up legal channels and blocking illegal tunnels", so as to enhance the legal and orderly migration flow and check the illegal migration activities to the greatest possible extent.

3. International migration needs to be dealt with in the framework of development and in a comprehensive and coordinated manner. The migration issue is not an isolated issue. It is closely linked with a wide spectrum of economic and social issues, such as employment, education, medical care and public health. In handling the migration issue, the national governments should give comprehensive consideration to its country's political, economic, social and cultural factors, strengthen coordination among different departments, guide the migration flow in an orderly manner, and enable the immigrants to merge into local societies smoothly and make their due contribution to economic and social development.

We should also act in the fundamental interests and unique features of immigrants, genuinely guarantee their political rights and economic and social rights and interests, and fully respect their religious beliefs and cultural traditions. As for the interests adjustments and conflicts caused by migration among different social groups, countries should adopt appropriate measures to resolve them, and avoid politicizing the migration issue. They should try to reduce transaction fee of remittance, raise the interest rate of remittance usage, create conditions to encourage immigrants to participate in investment trade and return to their own countries to develop, and enable the immigrants to fully play their role in promoting development.

4. Earnest efforts should be made to conduct international cooperation. Migration is a global issue. The international community, and especially the source, transit and target countries of immigrants should strengthen dialogue and cooperation on the basis of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit, and effectively manage the migration flow. The developed countries should offer necessary financial and technical assistance to the developing countries for their capacity building. The relevant international and regional organizations can play a greater role in this regard.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The Chinese Government attaches great importance to the migration issue and the related opportunities and challenges. In recent years, the Chinese Government has kept pace with new development, adjusted its border management policy and raised the entry/exit efficiency to facilitate regular population flow. At the same time, we have acted resolutely and forcefully to oppose and combat illegal migration. We have formulated and improved relevant laws and regulations, intensified law enforcement, and reinforced public education. We have also incorporated into our national development plan such elements as award foundation, tax reduction and exemption, and simplified entry/exit procedures to encourage Chinese students aboard to come back to work and reduce the "brain drain". The Chinese side has also taken an active part in international and regional migration cooperation, exchanged experience and cooperated with relevant countries and international organizations on the basis of mutual respect and equal consultation. China has for two successive years worked as APC's coordinator and enhanced dialogue on refugees and migration among Asia-Pacific countries. We are ready to continue to work with others to further promote the normal flow of population at the global level.

Mme. President,

This dialogue marks the beginning of UN deliberations on migration and development. We hope that the international community will make good use of this opportunity to further strengthen dialogue and contribute to world common development.

Thank you, Mme. President.

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