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Statement by Ambassador Shen Guofang, Deputy Permanent Representative of China to the UN,on the Question of Equitable Representation on and Increase in the Membership of the Security Council and Related Matters at the 56th Session of the UN General Assembly

2001/10/31

Mr. President,

First of all, please allow me to thank Mr. Harri Holkeri, President of the 55th Session of the GA and Chairman of the Open-ended Working Group on the Question of Equitable Representation on and Increase in the Membership of the Security Council and Other Matters, and his two deputies, Ambassador Ingolfsson and Ambassador Saram, for their vigorous efforts in the preparation for and smooth running of the Working Group.

Mr. President,

Mr. Holkeri pointed out at the concluding session of the 55th G A, on the Security Council reform, "there is a common recognition that the Council needs to reflect the realities of the 21st century to better serve the interests of peace and security." In the past 50 years and more since the inception of the United Nations, great changes have taken place in the international situation and the United Nations as well. In our view, the Security Council does need appropriate and necessary reforms in order to adapt to these changes and the needs of the times, and to fulfill more effectively its responsibility for maintaining international peace and security in accordance with the purposes and principles of the UN Charter. The most notable change in this Organization itself in the past more than half a century has been the growth of its membership from 51 at the time of its establishment to the present 189, most of which are developing countries, making the United Nations truly the most representative inter-governmental international organization in the world. Therefore, the overriding priority in the reform of the Council is to correct the imbalance of its composition and increase the representation of developing countries in accordance with the principle of equitable geographical distribution so that the composition of the Council will reflect the reality of the membership of the United Nations. Only by doing so can the reform be of significance and relevance and conform to the common aspirations and interests of all Member States.

The Millennium Summit of the United Nations adopted the United Nations Millennium Declaration on September 8th, last year, which states, inter alia, that "we resolve to intensify our efforts to achieve a comprehensive reform of the Security Council in all its aspects". It is a solemn commitment made by leaders of all Member States on the Security Council reform. In order to implement this commitment, the Working Group of the 55th Session of the GA conducted a series of considerations on the Security Council reform, in which Member States participated in an active manner. In the past one year, the Working Group achieved progress in terms of improvement of working methods of the Council, but breakthrough is yet to be made in other aspects. This demonstrates once again that the reform of the Security Council has to do with the interests of all countries and, therefore, there are different views, positions and concerns when it comes to issues of importance and principle. In order to materialize the will of the leaders of Member States, there should be full, careful and in-depth discussions and communications among Member States, and any solutions should be sought only on the basis of a consensus. It is impossible to impose a specific premeditated timetable. The Working Group of the 55th session of the GA is the very first of its kind, after the Millennium Summit. Obviously, its failure to achieve any breakthrough in its work can not be explained simply by the lack of a political will. In fact, the Millennium Declaration has already embodied the political will at the highest possible level of each and every country. To set a timeline for the reform before the consensus is reached will not be helpful but counterproductive to the reform.

The Chinese Delegation supports the decision that the Working Group continues its work so as to carry on in-depth discussions regarding the reform. At present, it is a big concern for all countries as to how to enable the Working Group to achieve greater progress. We have taken note of the indication by the President of the 55th Session of the General Assembly in his remarks at its closing sitting that many countries believe that "the time may have come to consider other avenues that would advance this process". In our view, his remarks are quite inspiring in terms of identifying priorities and working methods of the Working Group, and therefore merit our attention. In order to make the reform more fruitful, the Working Group may wish to adopt a from-easy-to-difficult approach and move forward step by step, starting with issues of no or little controversy. We will continue to support and participate actively in the work of the Working Group, and join hands with all other Members to push forward the reform of the Security Council.

Thank you, Mr. President.

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