|Statement by Ambassador Liu Zhenmin, Deputy Permanent Representative of China to the United Nations, at the 63rd UNGA Session on Agenda Item 19: "Necessity of ending the economic, commercial and financial embargo imposed by the United States against Cuba"|
New York, 29 October 2008
The Chinese delegation supports the statement made by the representative of Antigua and Barbuda on behalf of the Group of 77 and China.
For more than ten years, the Cuban delegates have denounced, each and every year on the podium of the UN General Assembly, the sustained economic, commercial and financial embargo against Cuba which has caused serious consequences on its social, economic and environmental development. The embargo has exerted extensive impact on Cuba. In particular, it compromises the right to survival and development of the vulnerable groups such as women and children, which has gained broad sympathy and attention.
For 16 consecutive years, the General Assembly has each year adopted a resolution by an overwhelming majority, urging all countries, in compliance with the Charter of the United Nations and the principles of international law, to repeal or invalidate all laws and measures with extraterritorial effect that compromise the sovereignty of other States, undermine the legitimate rights and interests of entities and individuals under the jurisdiction of those States, and affect the freedom of trade and navigation. Regrettably, however, the long-term economic, commercial and financial embargo against Cuba imposed by its rich neighbor is still in place.
In today’s world, although international relations are not yet democratized, dialogue, communication and harmonious coexistence have emerged as the mainstream of international relations. Mutual respect and equality among countries is becoming an important international consensus. In the age of economic globalization, exchanges and cooperation on an equal footing among countries represent the trend of our times. Dialogue on an equal footing and friendly consultation are the best way to resolve any differences and disputes. The international community has the right to raise serious concerns over the embargo and sanctions suffered by Cuba over the years and request the country concerned to end such embargo and sanctions.
The embargo and sanctions against Cuba not only harm the interests of Cuba and many other countries, but also go against the principles of democracy, freedom, the rule of law and human rights. First, the practice of attempting to force another country, through embargo and sanctions, to give up its right to independently choose its path of development, even to overthrow its government, constitutes a serious violation of the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations and the basic norms governing the contemporary international relations. Such practice has nothing to do with promoting democracy and freedom. Second, the embargo and sanctions imposed against Cuba are extra-territorial in nature, and are therefore a violation of the international law and can by no means promote democracy and freedom in any country. They are opposed by all countries and run counter to the principle of trade liberalization. Third, the embargo and sanctions have seriously obstructed and constrained the efforts of the Cuban people to eradicate poverty, improve their living standard, pursue economic and social development, and achieve the MDGs. They undermine the right to subsistence and development of the Cuban people. The international community is now faced with the serious challenge of global food crisis, and the ensuing worsening problems of hunger and malnutrition, which makes the embargo and sanctions more unreasonable than ever.
The Chinese Government always maintains that countries should develop their relations in compliance with the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations, and work to promote democracy and the rule of law in international relations. We believe that the right of each country to choose its own social system and the path of development should be respected. Differences between states should be solved through dialogue and cooperation on the basis of equality and mutual respect.
In view of the above, the Chinese Government requests the ending of the economic, commercial and financial embargo imposed by the country concerned against Cuba at an early date. It is our hope that there will be dialogue rather than confrontation, and engagement and exchanges rather than embargo and sanctions. We hope the country concerned will implement the relevant resolution of the UN General Assembly without delay. China therefore will support the draft resolution submitted by Cuba under the current agenda item.
Thank you, Mr. President.