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Statement by H.E. Ambassador Wang Guangya at the Emergency Meeting of the Security Council on Kosovo
New York, 18 February 2008

2008/02/18

Mr. President,

The Chinese government is gravely concerned over the unilateral declaration of independence by Kosovo on February 17, 2008. The whole international community is watching closely the reaction of the United Nations. China supports the proposal of Serbia and Russia to convene an emergency meeting of the Security Council and hopes that members will engage in serious discussion and respond in a responsible manner.

Mr. President,

The question of the status of Kosovo is extremely complicated and sensitive. It not only is an emotional issue for the Kosovo Albanians and Kosovo Serbs, but also bears on peace, security and stability of the Balkan region and even Europe at large. China always stands for peaceful resolution of disputes through political and diplomatic means, and supports a negotiated and proper settlement of the issue of Kosovo status. China opposes unilateral action and objects imposed solution by pressure. China maintains all along that the best way to resolve the issue of Kosovo status is for the two parties concerned to reach a mutually acceptable solution through negotiations. This should be the common goal of all the parties concerned.

Last year, under the auspices of the international contact group/troika, Serbia and Kosovo held several rounds of direct negotiations on the status issue. It is true that no substantive breakthrough was achieved during months of negotiations. Nevertheless, if negotiations are to be fruitful and successful, all participating parties need to show sincerity and flexibility, rather than giving up and even shutting the door of negotiations because of their differences. China believes that, instead of doing any good for the settlement of ethnic conflicts, the achievement of a multi-ethnic society and the maintenance of peace, stability and development in the former Yugoslavia, the unilateral action by Kosovo may rekindle conflicts and turbulences in the region, which in turn would cause serious humanitarian crisis and adversely impact the entire Balkan region and beyond. China is deeply concerned over this.

Safeguarding sovereignty and territorial integrity is one of the cardinal principles of contemporary international law enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations. The issue of Kosovo status does have its special nature. Nevertheless, to terminate negotiations, give up pursuit of a solution acceptable to both parties and replace such efforts with unilateral action will certainly constitute a serious challenge to the fundamental principles of international law. We call on all relevant parties to take full account of the complexity and sensitivity of the Kosovo status issue and make a sober assessment of the potential adverse implications of the unilateral action for peace and stability in the region, act with maximum prudence and do their utmost to preserve peace, security and stability there.

Security Council Resolution 1244 remains the political and legal basis for the settlement of the Kosovo issue. Before the adoption of any new resolution by the Council, all efforts and actions for the settlement of this issue should conform to the relevant provisions of Resolution 1244. If a resolution adopted by the Security Council is not observed and implemented, the resolution in question would become a mere scrap of paper; what's more, the authority and credibility of the Security Council as the primary organ for safeguarding world peace and security would be compromised. This is not only the worry of China, but also that of the international community. The Chinese government therefore hopes that all members will show a responsible attitude and consider and address this issue seriously and prudently.

Mr. President,

China agrees that the future of both Serbia and Kosovo lies in their eventual integration into Europe and appreciates the EU's desire to play an active role on the Kosovo issue. China hopes that the EU will take into account not only the interests of Serbia and Kosovo, but also the concerns of other countries in the region. More importantly, it needs to pay attention to and uphold the authority and role of the Security Council in resolving the Kosovo issue. We hope the EU will make greater efforts to reconcile the positions of Serbia and Kosovo, urge the two parties to continue their dialogue, and encourage them to find a way out in the process of seeking integration into Europe.

China sincerely hopes that all parties concerned will keep in mind the long-term interests of peace and security of the Balkan region, Europe and the world at large, and conduct candid negotiations and discussions for a constructive solution to the issue of Kosovo status. The Security Council and the international community should encourage Serbia and Kosovo to continue their pursuit of a mutually acceptable solution through political and diplomatic means.

Thank you, Mr. President.

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