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"To Enhance the Role of the United Nations, in Promotion of Peace and Development"
Statement by Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing at General Debate of the 58th Session of the UN General Assembly

2003/09/24

Li Zhaoxing delivering the speech at the General Debate

Mr. President,

Please allow me to express warm congratulations on your assumption of the Presidency of the 58th Session of the UN General Assembly. I would also like to thank Mr. Jan Kavan for his valuable contribution as the President of the last session of the UN General Assembly.

I also want to take this opportunity to express my heartfelt condolences to Mr. Sergio Vieira de Mello, Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General in Iraq, and other UN staff who died tragically not long ago in Baghdad.

The 21st century is about to complete its third year, with hope and distress coexisting side by side.

Peace and development remain the overriding themes of the times and the shared aspiration of people of all races, colors and nationalities.

The concept of democracy and equality has struck deep roots in the hearts of the people. Jointly taking on global challenges through stronger coordination and cooperation has become the consensus of the international community.

Countries are increasingly closer in their economic relations. Advanced means of communications have made sharing information in real time possible. With their interests closely connected and intertwined, countries are finding themselves more and more like passengers in the same boat.

Regional cooperation has grown substantially in both depth and scope, with cooperation mechanisms taking shape at various levels. Regional economic integration is forging ahead in many parts of the world.

Yet worrisome aspects of international situation are numerous.

Local wars and conflicts keep flaring up from time to time. Although the Iraq war is over, peace remains elusive with no end of suffering in sight for the Iraqi people. With the situation between Israel and Palestine still witnessing ups and downs, the Middle East peace process remains a long uphill journey. In Africa, wars are still raging in some countries.

Such non-traditional security concerns as terrorism, drug-trafficking, weapons proliferation, spread of diseases and environmental degradation have become more pronounced. Given modern conditions, they can easily spread within regions or even across the world, making the security situation of human communities even more complicated.

The development of mankind is still confronted with severe challenges. In the past 30 years, the number of Least Developed Countries has doubled, reaching 50 and accounting for one quarter of the UN membership. The continued widening gap between the North and South and the aggravated disparity between the ric