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Statement by Ambassador ZHANG Yesui, Permanent Representative of the People's Republic of China to the United Nations, at the 64th Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations on Agenda Item 19: "Necessity of ending the economic, commercial and financial embargo imposed by the United States against Cuba"


New York, 28 October 2009

(Photo Courtesy: Xinhua / Shen Hong)

Mr. President,

The Chinese delegation welcomes the report submitted by the Secretary-General on this agenda item and supports the statement made by the representative of Sudan on behalf of the Group of 77 and China.

China pursues an independent foreign policy of peace, and is committed to developing friendly relations with all countries on the basis of the five principles of peaceful coexistence. We are of the view that every sovereign state is entitled to independently choose a suitable social system and path of development for itself. No country has the right to unilaterally impose military, political, economic or other forms of sanctions on other countries. Experience shows that sanctions usually fail to achieve their expected results, and on the contrary, they may end up bringing damage to civilians, especially the most vulnerable groups such as women and children.

For 17 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, these resolutions have not been effectively implemented over the years, and the long-term economic, commercial and financial embargo against Cuba imposed by the country concerned is still in place.

This not only constitutes a serious violation of the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations, but also tremendously undermines the Cuban people's rights to survival and development. As the Secretary-General mentioned in his report, by December 2008, the embargo had inflicted direct economic damage of over 96 billion US dollars on Cuba, This has immeasurably constrained the efforts of the Cuban people to eradicate poverty, promote economic and social development, and achieve the MDGs. The international community is now faced with the serious challenges of the global financial crisis, food crisis, energy crisis, and climate change, which makes the embargo and sanctions against Cuba more unreasonable than ever.

We have noted that, in April this year, the US government lifted travel and remittance restrictions on Cuban Americans. We welcome this move and hope that the United States will continue to improve its relations with Cuba, and promote normal exchanges between peoples of the two countries.

Mr. President,

In today's world, multilateralism and democracy of international relations strike root in people's hearts, and opening up, cooperation, mutual respect and win-win progress have become the consensus of the international community. When disputes arise, dialogue on an equal footing and friendly consultation is the best way out.

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. It is always our hope that there will be dialogue rather than confrontation, and engagement and exchanges rather than embargo and sanctions in state-to-state relations. In this connection, the Chinese Government hopes that the country concerned will lift its economic, commercial and financial embargo against Cuba at an early date. China supports the draft resolution submitted by Cuba under the current agenda item.

Thank you, Mr. President.


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