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Statement by H.E. Mr. Zhang Yishan At the meeting of the Open-Ended Working Group on Security Council Reform

2003/02/10
Mr. Chairman,

At the outset, please allow me to congratulate Ambassador Chuchai kasemsarn, permanent representative of Thailand to the United Nations, on his election as the vice-chairman of this Working Group and Ambassador Ingolfsson, permanent representative of Iceland, on his reelection as the vice-chairman.  I am confident that under the leadership of the bureau, the Working Group will accomplish its work this year with success.

Mr. Chairman,

The reform of the Security Council has always been an issue of great concern to all member states.  Ever since the United Nations was established 58 years ago, it has undergone important changes with the passage of time.  The most conspicuous change is the several-fold increase of its membership from the developing world and the increasingly important role these members are playing in the United Nations and in international affairs.  As one of the main bodies of the United Nations, the Security Council also needs to march with the times and undertake appropriate and necessary reforms so as to better fulfill the mandate entrusted to it by the UN Charter.  At the present time, the main reform task should be the increase, as a priority, of membership of the developing countries in the Council in accordance with the principle of equitable geographical distribution.  This is the universal wish of the developing countries.

This year marks the 10th anniversary of the establishment of the Working Group.  Over the past 10 years, through active participation in the Working Group and submission of various reform proposals, States have done their level best in ensuring speedy results.  It is fair to say that we have made progress but it falls far short of our expectations and a serious stocktaking is in order.  Experience and reality show that Council reform is a complex and sensitive undertaking that bears upon the vital and sometimes conflicting interests of member states.  Acceptance of any reform proposal needs to be based on consensus obtained through extensive, in-depth and exhaustive discussions and consultations.  Railroading immature proposals will be unhelpful or even counter-productive.  As such, we must approach reform with a sense of urgency but also patience, and, above all, wisdom.

In recent years, the Security Council has taken positive initiatives to improve its working methods and transparency.  The remarkable achievements made in this regard have been acknowledged by all member states.  This is the result of many years of unrelenting hard work by the Working Group; it shows that as long as we approach reform with pragmatism, progress is possible.  We therefore believe that at this session, the Working Group should focus on less controversial questions such as the improvement of the Council's working methods and proceed on this basis to gradually and systematically realize the reform goals set out at the Millennium Summit.

China agrees with the preponderant view that this Working Group is the appropriate forum to discuss reforms.  We will continue to support and actively participate in the work of the WG.
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