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Statement by Ambassador WU Haitao at the Security Council Debate on Security Challenges in the Mediterranean


China appreciates Italy’s initiative in holding a public briefing on the security challenges in the Mediterranean. We welcome Foreign Minister Alfano’s presence in the Chamber today and thank him for presiding over today’s meeting. The statement by Secretary-General Guterres has provided excellent context for our discussion, for which China is grateful.

The Mediterranean is a region where Asia, Africa and Europe meet. In recent years, the situation in Libya, Syria and the Sahel region has been deteriorating. The hotspot issues have continuously been getting worse. Terrorist forces have been rampant and spreading. The problem of the illegal transfer of arms is serious. The regional situation is volatile and unstable. All of the above-mentioned are seriously affecting the development of countries in the region and their peoples’ lives. Many countries are faced with multiple challenges, such as unbalanced development, intercommunal conflict, massive flows of refugees and migrants, and serious cross-border organized crimes, inter alia.

The fates of the countries and peoples in the Mediterranean are interwoven, and the spillover impacts of the regional situation on the surrounding larger region cannot be underestimated. Expeditiously improving the situation in the region and finding a way to achieve stability, prevent new conflicts and build sustainable peace and development will require the joint efforts of the international community. China would like to emphasize the following points.

First, regional hotspot issues should be the focus, and the process of political settlement should be accelerated. Libya’s neighboring countries, the African Union, the League of Arab States and the European Union should step up their efforts to promote peace talks in support of the action plan on the political settlement of the Libyan issue put forward by the United Nations, so as to achieve reconciliation, stability and development in Libya at an early date. The international community should remain united and push the Syrian parties to reach an agreement acceptable to all parties as soon as possible through the Geneva peace talks. Bearing in mind the specific context in the Sahel region, the international community should take comprehensive measures to help cool down the hotspot issues in a relevant way and achieve overall peace and stability in that region. The international community should not neglect the long-standing question of Palestine. Unless we resolve that issue at the root of the Middle East question, it will be difficult to truly achieve regional stability.

Secondly, we should strengthen international and regional efforts, as well as coordination and cooperation with the countries concerned, and jointly meet our security challenges. The United Nations has a central role to play in international affairs in terms of coordinating efforts in preventive diplomacy, development assistance, good offices in mediation and post-conflict reconstruction etc. Regional organizations should also play a constructive role, giving greater assistance to countries of the region in conflict resolution and development, enhancing capacity-building and achieving regional stability, while paying attention in this process to safeguarding the sovereignty of the countries concerned, respecting their views and focusing on their needs. At the same time, the coordination of national and regional strategies should be strengthened to encourage synergies.

Thirdly, we should resolutely fight terrorism and appropriately address the refugee and migrant challenge. Terrorism is the public enemy of all humankind. It seriously undermines the security and stability of the region. The international community should unite in its fight against terrorism and comprehensively use the various means available to it to strengthen border control and law enforcement cooperation in the Mediterranean region and adjacent regions, cut off the financing of terrorists and their supply of arms, halt the spread of terrorist ideologies and step up the efforts aimed at preventing the spillover and return of foreign terrorist fighters. In dealing with the issue of refugees and migrants, it is necessary to strengthen support for countries receiving refugees, eliminate xenophobia and discrimination against them, while addressing the root causes of social instability and development imbalance. By supporting the countries of origin and transit, we can create conditions for the return of refugees and promote the sustainable development in the countries of origin. China appreciates the efforts of Italy, Lebanon and Jordan and others in their efforts and response to the refugee crisis in the region.

Fourthly, we should promote inclusive, balanced development that benefits everyone, respecting the diversity of civilizations and fostering our awareness of the community of a common destiny. Conflicts, war, terrorism and refugee and migrant crises can all find their roots in poverty and backwardness. Development is fundamental to resolving these global issues. We should seek open, inclusive, innovative and mutually beneficial development outlook for the Mediterranean region, which could help developing countries implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, enhance their capabilities in terms of poverty alleviation — or even elimination — and homegrown development, achieving shared progress and promoting lasting peace. We should insist on upholding the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations, following the new security concept, which is common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable in nature, in a joint effort to build a regional security network. We should construct a partnership that is based on dialogue instead of confrontation and partnership instead of alignment, strengthen dialogue among civilizations and religions, abandon zero-sum mindset, adhere to the general direction of peaceful settlement of disputes, and resolve differences through political means.

The Mediterranean is a strategically important region, rich in natural resources, with a unique cultural background and great potential for development. China is committed to according continued attention to the situation in the Mediterranean region, along with countries of the region and the international community. The Mediterranean region is an essential partner of the Belt and Road Initiative, based on the idea of jointly discussing, building and sharing. In recent years, China has proposed and actively promoted joint implementation of the Belt and Road Initiative, by achieving shared growth through discussion and collaboration. That proposal has enjoyed a positive response from the international community, including the Mediterranean region. China and the countries of the region have conducted in-depth and results-oriented cooperation on the strengthening of connectivity and the development of infrastructure, and positive progress has been achieved. China will continue to contribute to the realization of stability, security and lasting development in the Mediterranean region and is committed to creating a community with a shared future for mankind.

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