|Statement by Deputy Permanent Representative of China Ambassador Liu Zhenmin on Agenda Items 56(a) and 56(b) at the 2nd Committee of the 61st General Assembly|
The Chinese delegation would like to thank the Secretary-General for his reports submitted under agenda items 56(a) and (b). We also wish to thank Under Secretary-General Mr. Chowdry for his introduction. The Chinese delegation associates itself with the statement made by the representative of South Africa on behalf of the Group of 77 and China.
Over the past five years, the implementation of the Program of Action for the Least Developed Countries for the Decade 2001-2010 has registered progress as a result of joint efforts of the least developed countries and the international community. The economic growth of the least developed countries as a group has approached the target rate of 7 percent. However, the majority of the LDCs have found themselves trapped even deeper in poverty. Their external environment on which they depend for survival has further deteriorated, their debt burden has become heavier, and the ODA they received in recent years only showed limited increase.
Thanks to the extensive preparation by the international community, especially the LDCs, the high level meeting of mid-term comprehensive global review of the implementation of the Program of Action was successfully held in New York in September this year. The meeting culminated in a unanimously adopted declaration in which all parties reiterated their commitment to the Program of Action. This is of important significance for efforts in the next five years in implementing the targets and the seven specific commitments as contained in the Program of Action.
The international community is duty-bound to provide necessary assistance to the LDCs in their development endeavors. China believes that by focusing on the issues facing the LDCs, we are not only addressing the survival and development of some 700 million poorest people in the world, but also addressing our common future.
We hope that donors from the developed world honor their commitments made under the Millennium Declaration and the Monterrey Consensus by reaching the target of 0.15-0.2% of their GNI as ODA to the LDCs by 2015, expanding the scale of grants, continuing the drastic reduction of debts of the LDCs on the basis of the HIPC initiative and the G-8 Initiative for Debt Relief, implementing the outcome of last year's WTO Ministerial Meeting held in Hong Kong, and granting duty-free and quota-free market access no later than 2008 to all export products from the LDCs.
The Chinese government, with heart-felt sympathy for the plight of the LDCs, has always supported all legitimate initiatives and requests of the LDCs aimed at breaking out of poverty and realizing social and economic development, and has provided assistance to the LDCs within its capabilities. At the World Summit last year, President Hu Jintao of China announced five measures aimed at helping other developing countries accelerate development. The main beneficiaries of those measures are no other than the LDCs. To date, China has provided assistance or grants to 49 LDCs on 1,701 occasions, completed 799 projects, canceled 172 outstanding debts owed by 36 LDCs and given tariff-free access to some export from the 39 LDCs that have diplomatic relations with China. At the Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation held a few days ago, China proposed additional measures in support of accelerated development of African countries. China will continue to work for the strengthening of South-South cooperation and do more to support the development of the LDCs.
Because of their remote geographic location and physical distance from the world market, landlocked developing countries are saddled with exorbitant cost in international trade, which seriously impedes the development of their trade and economy. Thanks to the joint efforts of the countries concerned and international financial and development agencies, progress has been made in the implementation of the Almaty Program of Action. In 2004, the landlocked developing countries saw considerable increase of both their GDP and foreign direct investment compared with 2003. Nevertheless, due to the heavy debt burden, their overall economic performance has been less than desirable. The landlocked developing countries are still faced with daunting challenges in their development efforts. Their special difficult situation deserves the attention of the international community.
The successful implementation of the Almaty Program of Action requires joint efforts of landlocked and transit developing countries themselves and all partners involved, particularly donors from the developed world, various agencies of the UN system and relevant international institutions. Construction of efficient transportation system and cooperation in transit transportation are in the interest of both the landlocked and the transit developing countries. Hence, the implementation of the Almaty Program of Action must fully reflect the principle of "consultation on equal footing, mutual benefit and common development".
China is a transit developing country with a vast territory and certain areas are landlocked in character. As a result, we fully understand the concerns of the landlocked developing countries. We are willing to assist them in their pursuit of economic development and shall do our best to provide the countries concerned with transit transportation service. Up until 2005, China has signed 13 multilateral and bilateral agreements on motor transportation with its neighboring countries and opened a number of international routes for passenger and goods transportation. The Chinese government has provided to the Republic of Kyrgyzstan assitance in the amount of 60 million RMB yuan, which will be dedicated to the construction of a road connecting China, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan. The Chinese government has increased financial input for the on-going and planned construction of the Chinese sections of 12 transportation lines leading to other countries in the region.
China appreciates the active leading role played by the Office of the High Representative for the LDCs and Landlocked and Small Island Developing Countries in the implementation of the Brussels Program of Action and the Almaty Program of Action. The Chinese delegation hopes that the Office of the High Representative will enhance coordination with various countries and agencies concerned, with a view to promoting the effective implementation of the relevant goals of the two Programs of Action.
Thank you, Madam Chair.