At the UN General Assembly session held on September 21, the question concerning the reform of the Security Council is an important topic of debates. Along with the development of the international situation in recent years, the global nature of the various issues confronting humankind has made more and more countries to pin greater hope on the Security Council, hoping that the Security Council would exercise more functions in safeguarding international security. In the meantime, some countries hope that before the report on the proposal concerning Security Council reform comes out, they would first expound their stands to form public opinion so as to occupy a more advantageous position in future Security Council reform.
Currently, the focus of the Security Council reform is primarily a question of expansion, i.e., enlarging the number of Security Council members and increasing the seats of permanent Security Council members. Second is the question concerning veto power. At the current UN General Assembly, the most striking focus is a question concerning the seat of permanent Security Council members.
It is reported that Japan has openly indicated that it would raise its request to be a permanent Security Council member state at the current General Assembly. In addition, it is said that countries like Germany, India and Brazil would also raise similar requests. Sources say, the above-mentioned four countries would possibly make a joint statement at the ordinary debates of the General Assembly and would seek a resolution to be passed by this Assembly, currently they are carrying out activities surreptitiously.
On the question concerning the UN Security Council reform, it is necessary to set up a criterion to decide who can become a new permanent Security Council member, and to reach an international consensus on this basis. In my personal opinion, this criterion should be set up from the three aspects, namely representative, sense of responsibility and acting capability.
The principle of regional balance is the universally recognized principle for the reform of the Security Council, therefore, a new permanent Security Council member country must gain universal recognition from regions and countries and has regional representative. Take Japan for example. Its wish to play a still greater role in the international community is, of course, understandable, but its work to win recognition from regions and countries is far from being in place, particularly on the question of history, it invariably lacks a straight-faced and sincere attitude, some senior officials are invariably doing things hurting the feelings of people of victimized countries, when it clings to such an attitude while at the same time wanting to achieve a certain kind of representative in the Asian region, perhaps it would be very difficult for it to realize its aim.
To be a permanent Security Council member, it should have a sense of responsibility for the world and mankind. To be a UN member country, paying membership fee is one of its responsibilities, the amount of membership fee is determined by related UN regulations. Japan regards this point as the reason for it to become a permanent Security Council member, this appears to be somewhat narrow-minded and insensible. It must be understood that the Security Council is neither an economic organization, nor a company's board of directors, and the right to vote is not decided by the amount of funds contributed. If it wants to show its responsible attitude on the question of world and regional security, Japan should make efforts to adhere to its peace Constitution and to construct a regional security environment and security mechanism, and adopt a constructive attitude. Japan is, after all, an Asian country, this geographical reality is unchangeable. In today's world, regional economic cooperation and integration is a trend, Japan should recognize and comply with the reality and trend of the economic progress of the region and its neighboring countries, and from which gain motivation for its own development. Facts have proved that Japan's current economic recovery depends largely on the vigorous economies of the surrounding countries.
To be a permanent Security Council member, it should, of course, have a fairly strong acting capability. But it must give play to suchan ability within the UN Charter and the international norm, otherwise the stronger the ability, the worse it is. Therefore, one of the manifestations of the sense of responsibility is a fairly strong sense of international morality and self-disciplined ability. In recent years, Japan has made strenuous efforts to breakthrough some domestic and international "limitations", but its sense of international morality has been somewhat weakened, it gives one the feeling that Japan is taking the road of attending to the trifles and neglecting the essentials, a spiritually self-closing, narrow road. Following such a road of lacking an international vision and a mind of equality is very dangerous.
Germany also wants to become a permanent Security Council member. After WWII Germany has made profound self-examination and has won the understanding and conciliation of related victimized countries, therefore it has a fairly good international environment and representative. In the Iraq war, Germany stands for the leading role of the UN, expressing a strong sense of international morality and has thus won respects from many countries. It is said that Germany is sure to win support from two-thirds countries at the General Assembly. Although it may encounter some obstacles because it offends the United States, the country has, after all, showed its upright moral courage and responsible attitude, it will obtain a long-term political influence.
Whoever wants to become a permanent Security Council member should, first of all, show such moral courage and responsible attitude.
The above article by Huang Qing is carried on page 3 of the Global Times September 24, 2004 and translated by People's Daily Online