First of all, please allow me to congratulate you and other members of the bureau on your election. The Chinese delegation would also like to take this opportunity to thank Mr. Sessi, Chairman of the Committee on Contributions, for his introduction of document A/55/11 and to express our appreciation to members of that Committee for their dedicated work. The Fifth Committee has a full agenda during this session, we are confident that under your guidance, this Committee will overcome all difficulties and successfully fulfill its mandate.
Mr. Chairman, the Chinese delegation fully endorses the statement made by the distinguished Ambassador of Nigeria on behalf of G77 and China. My delegation would like to take this opportunity to reaffirm that capacity to pay is the basic principle on which the apportionment of the expenses of the Organization should be based. Of course, the Chinese delegation is not opposed to reasonable adjustments to the scale of assessments for the sake of improvement. Years of practice have shown that the principle of the capacity to pay has withstood the test of time and is in the interest of the majority of member states. The Chinese delegation therefore believes that any adjustment to the scale must be based on this principle and agreed on by consensus after extensive consultations.
Mr. Chairman, the low per capita income adjustment is the best expression of the principle of capacity to pay in assessing contributions, as it takes into account both a country' aggregate national strength and its per capita income which reflects the actual capacity to pay. LPCIA has been important in the past and is still indispensable today.
We have noted with regret that certain states are against applying the low per capita income allowance to permanent members of the Security Council, and that some even ventured the idea that there ought to be a floor for permanent members of the Council. Obviously, these proposals violate the principle of the capacity to pay and are clearly unacceptable to the Chinese government.
While economic globalization has facilitated the development of the world economy, it also has had negative impact on many developing countries, further widening the gap between the rich and the poor. In this globalization process, a certain country that has been enjoying sustained robust economic growth is doing everything it can to have its rate of assessments lowered. Any attempt to depart from the principle of the capacity to pay is unacceptable to China and, I trust, to the general membership as well.
The Chinese delegation is of the view that for the UN to play a greater role in international affairs, the Organization must have a sound financial basis, which in the final analysis, can only be realized if every member state conscientiously fulfills its financial obligation to the United Nations. The UN is still in financial difficulties today, mainly as a result of the large amount of arrears accumulated over the years by a small number of countries and particularly the major contributor. To resolve the UN financial problems would require all member states, in particular the major contributor who has the capacity to pay, to fulfill their financial obligations under the Charter by paying all assessed contributions in full, on time and without conditions.
China's economic growth has been seen relatively high in the last 20 years, but as a developing country with a population of nearly 1.3 billion, our per capita income is still very low. It is estimated that by the end of the year 2000, our per capita GNP will reach only 800 US dollars, far below US$ 4,318, the threshold set for the present methodology based on the world average per capita income. Proposals or ideas aiming at sharply increasing China's assessment in total disregard of its actual capacity to pay are unrealistic. As a developing country, China has conscientiously fulfilled its financial obligation to the UN. As its economy develops further, China is ready, on the basis of the principle of the capacity to pay, to make our due financial contribution to the UN. In fact, even with the present methodology, China's assessment is going to be upward by a large margin.
Mr. Chairman, the scale of assessments for the apportionment of the expenses of the UN is an important agenda item of the Fifth Committee this year. The Chinese delegation hopes that all parties will, in a flexible, pragmatic manner and in the spirit of consultation and cooperation, embark on a serious and in-depth discussion and dialogue on equal footing so as to reach broad-based consensus.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.