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Statement by H.E. Mr. Tang Jiaxuan Minister of Foreign Affairs and Head of Delegation of The People's Republic of China At the 56th Session of the UN General Assembly

2001/11/11

Mr. President,

First of all, please allow me to warmly congratulate you on your election as President of the 56th Session of the United Nations General Assembly. I am confident that under your able guidance and with the close cooperation of all delegates, this session will be crowned with success. I would also like to take this opportunity to express my sincere thanks to Mr. Holkeri for what he did as President of the last session of the General Assembly.

Mr. President,

A year ago, the United Nations convened the historic Millennium Summit in New York, where leaders of more than 100 countries discussed important matters of the world and looked to the future of humanity. The UN Millennium Declaration issued by the Summit identifies the objectives for promoting world peace and development in the new century and serves as a guide to action for the international community to create a better world. It was at this solemn podium that President Jiang Zemin of China made an appeal, on behalf of the Chinese Government and people, to all countries and peoples that love peace and aspire to progress: Let us work hand in hand to move the wheel of history toward a bright future.

The international developments over the past year demonstrate that more and more countries have opted for increasing dialogue and cooperation, preserving world peace and seeking common development as they see in these their own interests. Such a trend has not only brought rare opportunities of development for many countries, but also created favorable conditions for our joint endeavor to build a better world.

To be sure, the cause of human progress is still faced with daunting challenges, and the international community remains far from fulfilling all the objectives set out by the Millennium Summit.

Neither of the two main objectives - peace and development in the world - has been achieved. The world is by no means tranquil. Factors of uncertainty in the international situation are on the rise. Conflicts triggered by ethnic or religious problems have kept cropping up. The people in some countries are still suffering in wars and turmoil. International terrorist activities have spread to many parts of the world. Disasters caused by such global problems as environmental degradation, poverty, HIV/AIDS, drugs and refugees are worsening. The objective of democratized international relations is far from being realized. And there has been no marked change in the unfair and irrational international economic order.

Mr. President,

Terrorism is a common scourge to the international community and its threat to world peace and stability is severe and imminent.

We strongly condemn the terrorist attacks on the United States on September 11 and extend our deep sympathy and solicitude to the innocent victims and their families as well as the Government and people of the United States.

China has always been opposed to all forms of terrorism. No matter when, where or in what form terrorism strikes, and no matter against whom it is directed, it should be met with condemnation and counterstrikes by the international community taking a unified position thereon.

China has taken an active part in international cooperation against terrorism. In addition to joining most international conventions against terrorism, China has ratified the Shanghai Convention on Combating Terrorism, Separatism and Extremism concluded by the member states of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. This week, the Chinese Government will submit to the UN Secretary-General its instrument of accession to the International Convention for Suppression of Terrorist Bombings and will sign the International Convention for Suppression of Financing for Terrorism.

China stands for a primary role by the United Nations and its Security Council in the international efforts against terrorism. China supports the relevant resolutions they have adopted and closer cooperation and co-ordination among the various countries to this end.

China strongly believes that military actions against terrorism should have clearly defined targets and avoid any harm done to the innocent. All such actions should be consistent with the purposes and principles of the UN Charter and other universally recognized norms of international law and should serve the long-term interests of peace in the region and the world at large.

China believes that terrorism is a tiny fringe of extreme evil, representing neither any ethnic group nor any religion. Therefore, they must not be lumped together.

China is also threatened by terrorism. The "Eastern Turkestan" terrorist forces are trained, equipped and financed by international terrorist organizations. The fight against the "Eastern Turkestan" group is an important aspect of the international fight against terrorism.

Mr. President,

The September 11 incident shows once again that finding effective ways to safeguard global security has become a pressing issue facing the international community.

In today's world, the question of security is becoming increasingly multi-facetted and globalized. Countries are getting more dependent on one another in security, and their common ground on this issue is expanding.

No country, under such circumstances, can achieve its security objectives all on its own. Only enhanced international cooperation can help effectively cope with global security challenges and realize universal and lasting security.

Therefore, countries should endeavor to foster a new security concept based on mutual trust, mutual benefit, equality and collaboration. They should seek security through mutual trust and pursue cooperation to their mutual benefit so as to effectively reduce insecurity factors. The Shanghai Cooperation Organization and ASEAN Regional Forum have accumulated very good experience in this respect. The members of the two organizations have, through increasing mutual trust, enhanced mutually beneficial cooperation, promoted common security and maintained regional stability.

The issue of arms control has always been closely interrelated with security. The efforts by the international community over the years to promote arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation have played an important role in enhancing international security. In the face of the new situation, we should go on working for the preservation of the existing legal regime for international arms control and disarmament and the maintenance of global strategic stability without subjecting the security of any country to jeopardy.

Removing regional hot spots is vitally important to regional and global security.

We are following with deep concern the current developments in the Middle East. The Israel-Palestine conflict which broke out in September last year has gone on unabated. It not only poses a grave threat to the Middle East peace process and regional stability, but also exerts an increasingly negative impact on world peace. China supports the relevant UN resolutions and the principle of land for peace. It also supports the Palestinian people in their just cause to regain legitimate national rights and interests. We hope that the Israeli and Palestinian sides will take constructive measures and closely co-ordinate with the international community in its mediating efforts so as to create conditions for easing the tension and reactivating the peace talks process. China supports a greater role of the Security Council in this respect.

We are concerned about the situation in South Asia. China has always worked for a stable and peaceful South Asia. Under the current complex situation, we hope that the countries in the region will strengthen mutual understanding and mutual trust and coexist in peace and amity. As a neighbor to Afghanistan, we have been following the changing Afghan situation closely. We believe that in order to find a solution to the Afghan issue, the following principles should be observed:

1. The sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Afghanistan should be ensured;

2. The Afghan people should be allowed to decide on a solution independently;

3. The future government in Afghanistan should be broad-based and embody the interests of all ethnic groups in the country and should live in amity with all countries, particularly its neighbors;

4. The solution should serve peace and stability in the region; and

5. The UN should play a more active role.

Mr. President,

Since the beginning of this year, the world economy has experienced a visible slowdown. It has been further aggravated by the September 11 incident. Developed countries have met with difficulties, while developing countries are finding themselves in more dire straits. A recent estimate by the World Bank shows that from 20 to 40 thousand more children below the age of five in the developing countries will die as a result of poverty and hunger everyday. The number of the poor living on one US dollar a day will increase by 10 million. Capital flows bound for developing countries will contract further. Many poorest countries have slid into deeper recession as a result of plummeting exports, depressed tourism and falling primary commodity prices. This cannot but arouse our serious concern. The international community must act with a greater sense of urgency and give higher priority to development.

Developed countries should act more vigorously to promote development. Macro-economic policies of major developed countries bear on the general trend of global economic development. Given the sluggish global economy, they should adopt effective measures and make greater efforts to restore market confidence and revitalize the global economy. As their development assistance policies have an important impact on a host of developing countries, we hope that these developed countries will demonstrate a broader vision and co-operative spirit by taking into fuller consideration developing countries' difficulties and needs in the present situation.

In recent years, people have seen a rise of anti-globalization activities in many parts of the world. In fact, globalization is neither a panacea for development nor a monster that causes disasters. It is an objective trend. Our correct response to globalization should be to maximize its advantages and avert its disadvantages so that all countries will come out as winners and prosper side by side. Globalization should not benefit just a limited number of developed countries or a small number of people in these countries. The beneficiaries should include all the people from all social strata in all countries.

The United Nations has an irreplaceable role to play in international cooperation in response to globalization. It should increase its input in development and work more effectively to fulfil the development objectives set forth in the UN Millennium Declaration. The International Conference on Financing for Development and the International Summit on Sustainable Development scheduled for next year should provide opportunities for launching new multilateral cooperation projects.

China is supportive of the WTO launching a new round of multilateral trade talks. It is our hope that with the concerted efforts of all countries, the new round of talks will give full consideration to the concerns and interests of the developing countries so that it will truly become a round for boosting development.

Mr. President,

The 9th APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting was successfully held last October in Shanghai, China. It was the first gathering of APEC economic leaders at the beginning of the new century. It was held at a critical moment when the global economy presented a grim picture soon after the September 11 incident, and hence the extensive attention it has received. Centering on the theme: Meeting New Challenges in the New Century – Promoting Common Prosperity Through Participation and Cooperation, the leaders conducted in-depth exchanges of views and reached broad consensus on the global economic situation, human capacity building and future development of the organization. Having boosted intra-APEC cooperation among its members and reinforced their resolve to restore economic growth, this meeting has sent out a clear positive signal to the markets across the world and taken a solid step forward in advancing cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region. The meeting will exert a positive and far-reaching impact on Asia-Pacific economic cooperation, with which China, as its host, is pleased and gratified.

Mr. President,

Like the people of other countries, the Chinese people wish to see in the new century a peaceful and stable world, a fair and equitable international order, common prosperity for all countries and a happy and contented life for all the people.

President Jiang Zemin made clear to the world China's future objectives, guiding thoughts and domestic and foreign policies in his important speech delivered on July 1 this year. The principal task for the Chinese people in the new century is to press ahead with the modernization program, accomplish the grand cause of national reunification, safeguard world peace and promote common development.

China's development goal for the period leading to the middle of the century is to realize modernization by and large and reach the level of moderately developed countries. To meet this goal, we still have much to do and a long way to go. Our top priority is to develop the economy and steadily improve our people's life with undivided attention. This is a set state policy of China that will never waver or change.

The complete reunification of the motherland is the unswerving conviction of all the Chinese. Our basic principle for the settlement of the Taiwan question is "peaceful reunification and one country, two systems". There is but one China in the world, and the Chinese on both sides of the Taiwan Straits have the same blood in their veins. There is every reason for the two sides to conduct consultation on an equal footing and discuss reunification together as early as possible under the one China principle. Anything can be discussed in such talks. Direct links of mail, trade, air and shipping services between the two sides should not be artificially impeded any longer. We have the greatest sincerity in working for a peaceful reunification as this serves the interests of the Chinese people on both sides of the Straits. We are unequivocal in our determined opposition to all attempts aimed at splitting China, be they perpetrated on the Taiwan Island or elsewhere. China's sovereignty and territorial integrity are indivisible and the fundamental interests of the entire Chinese people brook no jeopardy.

The purpose of China's foreign policy is to safeguard world peace and promote common development. China needs a surrounding environment of friendship and good-neighborliness and an external world of stability and prosperity. To gain and safeguard such an international environment serves China's national interests. It is also China's duty as a member of the international community.

We in China adhere to our independent foreign policy of peace and continue to develop friendly relations and cooperation with all countries in the world on the basis of the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence.

We stand for compliance with the purposes and principles of the UN Charter and the universally recognized norms governing international relations. We favor democratization of international relations and support the establishment of a fair and rational international order.

We have always stood by international justice and the progressive forces. China is developing in the same direction as that of advancement of human history. The interests of the Chinese people are closely linked with those of the people of the rest of the world.

We believe that all civilizations and social systems in the world should, and can exist side by side on a long-term basis, complementing one another and making progress together in a spirit of seeking common ground while shelving differences.

We hope that all countries will join hands as equals in mutually beneficial cooperation in such areas as world peace, security, development, environmental protection, science and technology, culture, society, education, health, drug control and counter-terrorism. In opening up to the outside world, China aims at vigorously and constructively carrying out exchanges and cooperation with countries in the Asia-Pacific and elsewhere in the world with a view to achieving common development. Such commitment of ours has been well illustrated by our hosting APEC 2001 and joining the WTO. Our WTO entry will usher in a completely new phase for our opening-up. We are confident in our ability to develop ourselves in the process of deeper reform and wider opening-up, thus contributing to the economic development in the Asia-Pacific region and the world at large.

Mr. President,

Thirty full years have elapsed since China's lawful seat in the UN was restored in 1971. Stupendous changes have since taken place in the world, in China and in the UN. China's commitment to the UN Charter, however, remains unchanged. Its pursuit of world peace and development has been firm, and its involvement in the UN cause has become deeper. We firmly believe that under the new situation in the new century it will be of greater practical significance to strengthen multilateral cooperation and give full play to the role of this world body. China will, as always, render vigorous support to the work of the UN and continue to work together with the other member states for a world that enjoys lasting peace and universal prosperity.

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