A New Journey Ahead After Fifty Extraordinary Years
Keynote Address by State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi at the Lanting Forum on China and the UN: Cooperation in 50 Years and Beyond
25 June 2021
Welcome to the Lanting Forum to join us in commemorating the 50th anniversary of the restoration of China’s lawful seat in the United Nations.
The founding of the UN was a milestone in humanity’s pursuit of peace and development. China was the first country to put its signature on the UN Charter. With an ink brush, the Chinese delegate solemnly left China’s eternal imprint.
The People’s Republic of China, since its founding, was kept out of the UN for 22 years. In spite of this, the Chinese people never wavered in their will to safeguard world peace. They never halted their efforts for common development. And they won support from more and more countries and peoples. On 25 October 1971, the UN General Assembly at its 26th Session adopted Resolution 2758 with an overwhelming majority. It decides to restore all its rights to the People’s Republic of China and to recognize the representatives of its Government as the only legitimate representatives of China to the United Nations. It was a victory for New China’s diplomacy, a victory for justice and fairness in the world, and a victory for the purposes and principles of the UN Charter. With this historic event, the Chinese people, accounting for one-fourth of the world population, were able to stand proud in the family of nations. With this historic event, the UN truly became the most representative and authoritative international organization. The force for world peace and development was stronger than ever before.
As you all know, UNGA Resolution 2758 was based on a draft resolution jointly proposed by Albania, Algeria and 21 other countries. It was endorsed and supported by most countries. When it was adopted, many delegates from Asia, Africa and Latin America expressed their joy with cheers, applause and hugs. Ambassador Salim Ahmed Salim, then Tanzanian Permanent Representative to the UN, danced in the hall, wearing a Chinese-style suit. That memorable scene is as touching today as it was 50 years ago. Seated among us in this room today are ambassadors from many countries that co-sponsored and supported Resolution 2758. Let’s give a round of warm applause to these countries. We appreciate and salute your act of justice!
Chairman Mao Zedong once said, it was our fellow developing countries that “carried” the People’s Republic of China into the United Nations. The word “carry” aptly captures the profound friendship between China and other developing countries. This is something that we in China will never forget. In the five decades since, China has acted in the same spirit by firmly upholding the legitimate rights and interests of fellow developing countries and speaking up for the developing world. Past, present and in the future, China always stands together with developing countries. China’s vote in the United Nations is always for the well-being of developing countries and for justice in the world. Keeping to the spirit of “carry”, we will continue to strive for the collective rise of developing countries and make it a defining trend of the 21st century.
The past 50 years were full of ups and downs. But China always stays true to its original aspiration.
As the world’s largest developing country and a permanent member of the UN Security Council, China always honors the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, and vigorously promotes the spirit and approach of multilateralism. It has made tireless efforts and important contributions to development and progress of mankind.
Today, we have invited some special guests. Ambassador Li Daoyu, who has devoted many years of his life to multilateral diplomacy, was awarded the national honorary title “outstanding contributor to diplomatic work”. Ambassador Shi Yanhua, a member of the Chinese delegation to the 26th Session of the UNGA, witnessed in person the historic moment of China’s return to the UN. I also acknowledge representatives of those who have done great service to the UN peacekeeping missions, to international poverty alleviation, and to medical and health undertakings. Let’s give them our warmest welcome!
Over the past 50 years, many Chinese people have been involved in the UN’s undertakings, and have witnessed, participated in and contributed to China’s cooperation with the UN. They all have their own “UN stories” to tell. Put together, those stories epitomize the unremitting efforts of the Chinese people for a stronger UN and the important contribution of the Chinese nation to fulfilling the aspirations of the UN.
China has set a good example in upholding the international order. Strongly committed to democracy, rule of law and equity in international relations, China put forth the five principles of peaceful co-existence as early as in the 1950s, and has since faithfully observed them, contributing significantly to the formulation and development of the basic norms governing international relations. Over the past five decades, China has joined almost all universal inter-governmental organizations, signed more than 600 international conventions, earnestly fulfilled its international obligations, and honored its international commitments. Over the past five decades, holding high the banner of multilateralism, China has firmly safeguarded the UN-centered international system, upheld the international order underpinned by international law, and bolstered the central role of the United Nations in international affairs.
The past 50 years have seen Chinese leaders taking the stage at the UN many times. From the Three Worlds Theory to the proposal for a new international political and economic order, from building a harmonious world to a community with a shared future for mankind, China has shared its wisdom and solution for world peace and development at every historical moment. President Xi Jinping, with his vision for greater progress of humanity, has proposed building a community with a shared future for mankind. This major initiative rises above differences in social system and development stage, and rejects the zero-sum mentality and geopolitical calculations. It sets the common goal for different countries, different nations and different civilizations. The initiative is the banner of major-country diplomacy with Chinese characteristics in the new era. China will continue to take an active part in the reform and improvement of the global governance system under this banner.
China has honored its responsibilities for upholding world peace. Having participated in 29 UN peacekeeping operations and sent a total of over 50,000 peacekeepers, China has become the largest contributor of peacekeepers among the permanent members of the Security Council. We are also the second largest funding contributor to the UN and UN peacekeeping operations. To date, 24 Chinese military and police officers have given their lives in the line of duty. Their sacrifice will always be remembered. At this very moment, more than 2,400 Chinese peacekeepers are on duty across the globe. China has also set up a standby force of 8,000 troops and a police squad of 300 for UN peacekeeping missions. They are ready to go anytime when needed to safeguard world peace.
Over the past 50 years, China has taken the side of fairness, upholding sovereign equality and opposing interference in other countries’ internal affairs, power politics and hegemonism. China has taken the side of justice, adhering to equity and impartiality and opposing geopolitical rivalry and exclusive blocs. China has taken the side of peace, standing for political settlement and opposing the use of force and unilateral sanctions. As a permanent member of the Security Council, China has been actively exploring for solutions to hotspot issues in line with the spirit of the UN Charter.
Last month, amid the worst conflict between Palestine and Israel since 2014, China, as the Security Council’s rotating president, worked with other member states to hold five Security Council deliberations on the Palestinian issue, and released a press statement. China has called upon all parties to fully adhere to the ceasefire, provide humanitarian assistance to Palestine, and strive for an early, comprehensive, just and enduring settlement of the Palestinian issue on the basis of the two-state solution.
China has worked relentlessly to promote common development. As the largest developing country, China was among the first to reach the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). China has met 10 years in advance the poverty eradication target set out in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, reducing the world’s poverty-stricken population by over 70%. As the world’s second largest economy, China’s contribution to global growth remained the highest for 15 years running. China has worked to foster greater synergy between its own development and that of the world. The Belt and Road Initiative has received support from 140 countries and 32 international organizations. The China International Import Expo, one that enables China to further open up to the world, has been held for three consecutive years. China also takes an active part in South-South cooperation. Under this framework, we have provided around RMB 400 billion yuan of development assistance to 166 countries and international organizations, and have built close to 3,000 complete projects. We have sent more than 600,000 aid workers to help over 120 developing countries with their efforts to achieve MDGs. In collaboration with the UNDP, China has also set up the International Poverty Reduction Center in China. The Center has run targeted training courses for poverty reduction workers from 136 countries and international organizations. It is China’s contribution of intellectual and material resources to global efforts against poverty.
China has made active contribution to addressing global challenges. On climate change, China has worked actively for the adoption of the Paris Agreement and has remained a firm supporter to it, and has facilitated solutions to environmental protection and sustainable development. At the General Debate of the 75th Session of the UN General Assembly, President Xi Jinping announced that China will strive to peak its CO2 emissions before 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality before 2060. Later at the Climate Ambition Summit, President Xi put forth more steps to scale up China’s nationally determined contributions, testifying to China’s sense of mission and responsibility. When the Asian financial crisis broke out in 1997, China’s commitment of not letting the RMB depreciate served our neighboring economies well in navigating the crisis. In the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, our responsible macroeconomic policies were an important contribution to world economic recovery. In recent years in particular, China absorbed 25 percent of the total exports from least developed countries. Under the G20 Debt Service Suspension Initiative, China has put off more loan repayments than other countries. All these are concrete steps to narrow the North-South gap. In the global fight against COVID-19, we have launched as promptly as possible an emergency humanitarian operation, and have provided medical supplies to over 150 countries and 13 international organizations. President Xi Jinping has solemnly announced that Chinese vaccines will be made a global public good, and that China will be committed to ensuring accessibility and affordability of vaccines in developing countries. To date, China has provided 438 million doses of Chinese vaccines and raw ingredients to over 90 countries and international organizations. At the Global Health Summit last month, President Xi announced the major steps China will take to support international efforts to defeat the virus, sending once again China’s strong message of solidarity to the world.
Tomorrow is the UN Charter Day. With the international landscape undergoing profound changes unseen in a century, how can we, the countries in the world, avoid division, reject confrontation, maintain solidarity, and advance cooperation? There is only one right answer: upholding the international system with the UN at its core and safeguarding the basic norms governing international relations based on the purposes and principles of the UN Charter. This is because that is the only system jointly built by all, and that is the only set of norms universally endorsed by all. Building international consensus on the UN platform to meet global challenges together is the biggest common ground of all countries. It is also the right choice consistent with the trend of the times.
We are ready to work with all countries to resolve differences through dialogue and negotiation, settle disputes through political ways, advance democracy and the rule of law in international relations, and jointly build a world of lasting peace.
We are ready to work with all countries to uphold the new vision of common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security, combat non-traditional security threats, promote modernization of global governance capacity and system, and jointly build a world of universal security.
We are ready to work with all countries to enhance solidarity and win-win cooperation, provide more global public good to developing countries, work for a steady post-COVID world economic recovery, speed up the implementation of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, and jointly build a world of shared prosperity.
We are ready to work with all countries to treat each other with respect and as equals, respect countries’ own choice of social system and development path in light of national conditions, uphold diversity of the world, advance mutual learning among civilizations, and jointly build an open and inclusive world.
We are ready to work with all countries to uphold the people-centered approach and green development, implement the Paris Agreement on climate change, steadily strengthen global governance on biological diversity, protect our future generations, protect green mountains and lucid waters, and jointly build a community with a shared future between man and Nature and a clean and beautiful world.
We are ready to work with all countries to defend the common values of humanity, namely peace, development, fairness, justice, democracy and freedom, continue to advance the building of a new type of international relations featuring mutual respect, fairness and justice and win-win cooperation, and jointly build a community with a shared future for mankind.
In just a few days, China will celebrate the centenary of the Communist Party of China (CPC). In the past century, the CPC has made outstanding accomplishments in fighting for national independence and liberation, prosperity of the country and well-being of the people. It is committed to the eternal great cause of the Chinese nation and is right in its prime at its centenary. We will continue to remain true to the CPC’s original aspiration, keep in mind its founding mission, and work for happiness of the people, rejuvenation of the nation and harmony of the world!
At this new historical starting point, China will continue to make all-out efforts in participating in UN affairs, safeguard the status of the UN, and promote the purposes and principles of the UN Charter. We will uphold the spirit of extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits and the banner of true multilateralism, and, together with the rest of the world, forge ahead for greater peace and development of mankind!