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Statement by Ambassador Wang Guangya on Security Council reform at the 59th Session of the General Assembly
(11 July 2005)

2005/07/11



(Archive Photo)

Mr. President,

The United Nations plays an indispensable role in international affairs. China has always supported the further strengthening of the UN through reform and is willing to join others in actively cooperating with the President of the General Assembly and the facilitators to strive for positive results of the overall reform of the UN and to ensure the success of the September Summit.

Mr. President,

China supports the necessary and rational reform of the Security Council with a view to enhancing its capability to respond to global threats and challenges. This position of ours has been explicit and consistent. We believe that:

First of all, the reform of the Security Council should be multi-faceted, which includes both the enlargement of the membership and the improvement of working methods. At the same time, the Security Council's authority and efficiency must also be ensured.

Secondly, the enlargement of the Security Council must give priority to increasing the representation and voice of the developing countries. The developing countries constitute over 2/3 of the whole membership of the UN, but they are seriously under-represented on the Security Council. China firmly supports the increase of the representation of African countries on the Security Council. This position is unswerving.

Thirdly, any enlargement formula must ensure that small and medium-sized countries have more opportunities to serve as members of the Security Council and participate in its decision-making.

Fourthly, the enlargement of the Security Council must uphold the principle of geographical balance and reflect the representation of different cultures and civilizations. Reform formulas concerning various regions should first achieve consensus within relevant regional groups.

Mr. President,

It has been the consistent view of China that the reform of the Security Council should be realized through a gradual process of democratic discussion aimed at achieving consensus. As enshrined in the UN Charter, the entire membership of the United Nations solemnly confers on the Security Council primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security and authorizes the Security Council to act on its behalf in carrying out its duties under this responsibility. The reform of the Security Council is extremely sensitive and complicated because it is not only crucial to international peace and security, but also to the immediate interest of all member states of the UN. Therefore, a decision on the reform of the Security Council should be made by all members of the UN and be founded on the will of the vast majority of the membership. It shouldn't just take care of the concerns of a few states or a part of the membership. Only decisions achieved through the widest possible consensus can enjoy universal trust and support and serve the common and long-term interest of all the member states of the UN.

At present, after more than half-year's repeated discussions, differences surrounding the enlargement formula of the Security Council are showing a tendency of further expanding instead of narrowing down. The "Group of Four", the "Uniting for Consensus", the African Union and the United States all put forward their draft resolutions or ideas, and we cannot exclude the emergence of other new formulas later on. This fully demonstrates the complexity of the question of Security Council enlargement. It is fair to say that we are still far from a formula that can accommodate the concerns of all sides or one that can win widespread support. Under such circumstances, member states need more time to continue dialogue and carry out full consultations in search of a compromise. Most member states do not want to be forced to vote on a formula on which there is no broad consensus. Forcing through an immature formula by means of a vote is bound to split member states and regional groups and thus weaken the authority and role of the UN. To do so would also defeat totally the original purpose of the Security Council reform.

Based on the above-mentioned consideration, China is firmly opposed to setting an artificial timeframe for the Security Council reform and rejects the forcible vote on any formula on which there still exist significant differences.

Mr. President,

The whole membership of the UN places high hopes on the September Summit and looks forward to positive results of the overall reform of the United Nations so that the Organization could maintain its vitality and recreate its glories. The Security Council reform is an important part of the overall reform of the UN. However, reforms in other fields are equally important and the enlargement of the Security Council should not distract the consultations on other important reform proposals. For several months now, the preparation for the Summit has been almost hijacked by the debate surrounding the enlargement of the Security Council, which has seriously diluted the attention and input to other major issues like development, security, human rights and the reform of the Secretariat. On the question of the enlargement of the Security Council, any hasty action in disregard of the interest of all sides will create serious division among member states and may result in a final outcome of the September Summit not up to our expectations. That is undoubtedly a situation none of us would wish to see and something we must try our utmost to avoid.

China is convinced that member states still have time and opportunity to achieve a broad consensus on the enlargement of the Security Council. The key lies in the genuine political will and the spirit of compromise of all sides. The unity and consensus of member states are the most valuable asset of the UN. It was based on them that the United Nations rose on the ravages of World War II. Moreover, it is based on them that in the new century, we shall respond to the new security threats and challenges and realize common development and prosperity. We must not arbitrarily negate the possibility of achieving consensus on the enlargement of the Security Council without yet making any substantive endeavors. China appeals to and urges all member states to proceed from the consideration of maintaining the unity and long-term interest of the United Nations and make every effort to avoid the unfortunate situation where a showdown on Security Council enlargement is forced upon member states while conditions are not yet ripe.

Thank you, Mr. President.

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