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Statement by Ambassador Wang Guangya On the Report of the High-level Panel
27 January 2005

Mr. President,

China appreciates and welcomes the comprehensive report submitted by the High-level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change. The report sums up, from a strategic perspective, the experiences of the UN since its inception, analyzes the major security threats and challenges facing the States today and puts forward many constructive initiatives and ideas on the revitalization and reform of the Organization that deserve serious consideration by all. The report will certainly make an important and positive contribution to the preparations for the coming Summit of the UNGA, the promotion of multilateralism and the strengthening of the role of the UN.

Mr. President,

The report advocates a new security consensus and a deep engagement to strengthen collective security systems. We believe that this is of special and positive significance. Today, the concept of security is becoming more complex. No State can stand wholly alone. Interdependence among countries has deepened and their interests are intricately intertwined and no State can enjoy absolute security in isolation from the others. Under the circumstances, only the adoption of a new security concept that emphasizes “mutual trust, mutual benefit, equality and cooperation”, strengthened international cooperation and reliance on collective action will enable us to effectively respond to new challenges.

The security threats and challenges we face are complex in nature and varied in form. As the core of the collective security system, the UN has a special responsibility and a unique role to play in safeguarding the common security of States and in preventing and curbing common threats. The enhancement of the capacity and authority of the UN is a must for the common security of the international community, and it is also a principle that lies at the heart of the Panel’s report.

Mr. President,

The report pointed out that common development is the indispensable foundation of a new collective security system and that it is necessary for States to view the question of development from a security strategy perspective. We believe that this is a highly relevant point. Terrorism and the proliferation of WMDs are security threats to the international community; but so are poverty, diseases and environmental degradation, and the threats posed by the latter are no less serious. We should attach equal importance to all types of threats and challenges and not stress one over or at the expense of another. At the present time, what most concerns the developing countries is finding effective solutions to development problems and realizing the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). In this respect, North and the South share equal responsibilities and the UN also has an indispensable role to play. As to the policy initiatives put forward by the Panel, we should, in combination with the consideration of the report on the Millennium Project, translate broad ideas into concrete actions and seriously address the common concerns of the developing countries. This is also one of the criteria against which we can test North-South solidarity and judge the success of the coming Summit in September.

Mr. President,

The report rightly points out that the front-line actors in dealing with all the threats we face continue to be individual sovereign States. Sovereign States have the primary responsibility of protecting their own citizens. The purposes and principles of the UN Charter should continue to be safeguarded and the rights and responsibilities of sovereign States continue to be respected. We believe that this is an important guideline. After the end of the cold war, inter-State disputes have given way to more and more internal conflicts. The UN must pay attention to this new phenomenon, finding new remedies to effectively help the countries concerned to end the conflicts, with particular emphasis on timely assistance in serious humanitarian crises. Meanwhile, it is also necessary to realize that in view of the often complex causes of internal conflicts, it is inadvisable to make hasty judgment that the State concerned is unable or unwilling to protect its own citizens and rush to intervene. The basic principles of sovereign equality and non-interference in internal affairs of other States as stated in the Charter have to be strictly respected. The matter should be carefully judged and handled by the Security Council in view of the specific circumstances. In deciding on coercive actions, the Security Council should exercise particular caution and deal with situations on a case-by-case basis and not by any hard and fast rules.

We wish to emphasize here that China has always advocated the peaceful resolution of international disputes and opposes the use or threat of force in international relations. Unwarranted use of force can only contribute to further turmoil in the world. “Anticipatory self-defense” or “preventive use of military force” is not advisable; the use of force must be authorized by the Security Council. We endorse the view that Article 51 of the Charter needs neither rewriting nor reinterpretation. As to the five basic criteria of legitimacy listed in the report for the authorization of use of force by the Council, we believe that in view of the differences in the causes of crises and their circumstances, it would not be easy, in theory or actual operations, to form criteria that are universally applicable to all situations. This is a major question that warrants further in-depth study.

Mr. President,

The report also contains many proposals on UN reform aims at improving the overall capacity of the Organization as well as its efficiency. Secretary-General Kofi Annan has also stated on many occasions his hope of making this year the “year of UN reform”, so that it can address the new threats and challenges more effectively and strengthen multilateralism. The core mission of the UN is to safeguard world peace and promote common development. The UN machinery includes the General Assembly, Security Council, ECOSOC, the Secretariat and many subsidiary organs. We believe that UN reform should be all-round. Achievements should be made in both the security and development aspects of the reform.

The Panel’s report offers two models for expansion of the Security Council. Both of them, in our view, are mainly general ideas that need to be fleshed out in detail in various respects. We are ready to discuss them further with all sides. It is also our view that the discussion by Member States of this question should not be confined to these two models; the concerns raised and other possible proposals voiced by various parties all deserve to be studied and considered carefully. As vital interests of all States are at stake in the question of Council expansion, it should be carefully and thoroughly examined in the spirit of seeking common ground while reserving differences, adhering to the principle of achieving a consensus and avoiding ramrodding insufficiently thought through proposals or setting artificial time limits.

The report further proposes the establishment of a “Peace-building Commission” under the Security Council. This is an innovative idea that is conducive to promoting States in giving priority attention and input to post-conflict peace-building and thus enhancing inter-agency communications and coordination in this regard. Details of this proposal still need to be carefully worked out to ensure that it is genuinely feasible and generally acceptable to all.

Mr. President,

In its last recommendation, the report pointed out that all Member States should rededicate themselves to the purposes and principles of the Charter and to applying them in a purposeful way, matching their political will with the necessary resources. This is something with which we fully associate. We are also of the view that this should serve as a guiding principle and important objective in our future deliberation of the report and for the preparatory work for the September Summit.

These are some of our general comments. The report contains a wide arrange of specific recommendations in the field of infectious diseases, environment protection, transnational organizational crime, counter-terrorism, peacekeeping operations and non-proliferation of WMDs, we are of positive view towards most of these recommendations and stand ready to continue to exchange views in depth with all sides on them.

Thank you, Mr. President.

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