A Chinese envoy has said that China supports reasonable and necessary reform of the United Nations Security Council to meet the needs of the times.
“With a collective rise of developing countries being the defining feature, China supports reasonable and necessary reform of the Security Council to meet the needs of the times,” Zhang Jun, China’s permanent representative to the United Nations, said.
He said this while addressing the 33rd plenary meeting of the 74th session of the UN General Assembly on the “Question of Equitable Representation on and Increase in the Membership of the Security Council and Other Matters related to the Security Council.”
“Priority should be given to increasing representation and say of developing countries, especially African countries.
“Most of the UN members are small and medium-sized countries.
”However, till now, 63 countries have never made their way to the Security Council.
”Some of the small and medium-sized countries get a seat at the Council every 40 to 50 years.
”This is regrettable and unfair,” said the ambassador.
“Reform must increase the opportunities for the small and medium-sized countries to sit in the Council and participate in their decision-making processes.
“This is the only way to make the Council more democratic, transparent and efficient,” he added.
Noting that multilateralism is under attack and the most needed for the UN is unity and cooperation, Zhang said, “Security Council reform concerns the vital interests of all UN members and the future of the UN and will lead to major adjustment of the global governance system and international order.
“In-depth communication and democratic consultation is needed to find a package solution that accommodates interests and concerns of all parties, enjoys the widest possible political consensus and receives the support of all member states,” said the envoy.
“The Intergovernmental Negotiations (IGN) is the only legitimate platform for discussion among member states on Security Council reform. We hope that IGN of the current General Assembly session will keep to the right track of being membership driven and carry out in-depth discussion under five clusters of issues through informal plenary sessions,” he said.
Stressing that the parties currently have serious disagreements on the general direction and approach of reform, he said that “rushing into a text-based negotiation, setting artificial time lines, or even trying to force through any premature reform proposal would do no good to the sound development of the reform process. That would only aggravate division and cause conflict or even confrontation,” he said.
Talking about the reform process, the ambassador said that if not handled properly, the process “will not make any progress.”
“Instead, it could jeopardize the consensus already reached and undermine the interest of all member states, and would still less address the under-representation of developing countries in the Security Council,” he said.
Zhang expressed the hope that the president of the General Assembly would “appoint experienced candidates with just and objective perspectives to serve as co-chairs of the IGN and China will support the co-chairs in doing their work.”
“China calls upon all member states to demonstrate political will, engage in IGN during this General Assembly session actively and constructively, and work towards the widest possible consensus,” said the envoy.
“China is ready to work with all parties to take the reform in the direction that serves the fundamental interests of all member states and the long-term interests of the UN,” he added.
Speaking of the UN’s history, the ambassador said that the UN, the most important outcome of World War II, came after the fight against fascism, in which so many people made the ultimate sacrifice.
“As the core of international collective security mechanism, the Security Council has played and has been playing an irreplaceable role in maintaining international peace and security and in preventing another world war,” he said.
“Looking ahead, we must learn from history and war, and reflect on the causes of war, support the status and role of the UN and uphold the core values of the UN Charter, to shape a better future free from the scourge of war for generations to come,” said the envoy.
Reform of the Security Council has been a subject of interest for many member states since the early days of the UN. Formal discussion about reforming the Security Council began with the 1993 establishment of the Open-ended Working Group on the Question of Equitable Representation on and Increase in the Membership of the Security Council and Other Matters related to the Security Council. After more than a decade of the working group, member states decided in September 2007 to move discussions to an Intergovernmental Negotiations process.