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Home >> Opinion
UPDATED: 15:33, June 09, 2005
No "fast food" for Security Council reform
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Recently, centered round the question of the Security Council reform, the fierce trial of strength between the two major groups, "G4" formed by Japan, Germany, India and Brazil, and the "Uniting for Consensus" group represented by the Republic of Korea, Pakistan, Italy and Argentina has turned white-hot, and the majority UN member states have got involved in it, they have vied with one another to express their attitudes toward the matter. The question regarding Security Council reform has become complicated and the prospect of reform is not so clear.

In 1945 when the United Nations (UN) was founded, it decided to set up the Security Council and the "five permanent members" system, designed to exercise effective management over international peace, security and stability through the Security Council and such a strong and efficient institution as the "five permanent members" system.

Today, reform made to the Security Council should be more conducive to an effective management of international peace, security and stability, and to the promotion of a sound development of the UN, rather than regarding the Security Council reform and obtainment of the qualifications for "being permanent members" as awards to certain countries for their "international contributions", still less as the "aims" for certain countries to enhance their international positions, and even to satisfy the big countries' ambitions.

The attempt to influence the process and orientation of the Security Council reform under the excuse of so-called "international contributions", and to make up for one's own "international contribution" at the expense of the process of UN reform not only is not serious, but also is irresponsible to the UN reform and the international community.

As an ancient Chinese saying goes, "Haste makes slow going; more haste, less speed". The UN and Security Council reform bears on the well-being of the world's six billion people, so the reform must be carried out in a safe and cautious manner and must proceed in a planned and systematic way.

Reform must be in conformity with the democratic principle and in keeping with the interests and aspirations of the majority member states, especially of the vast numbers of developing countries with insufficient representation in the Security Council, as well as with the principle of regional balance. The practice of certain countries which "canvass votes" by providing economic aid as the bait obviously does not accord with the democratic principle and the principle of international fairness and justice, and may possibly lead the UN and Security Council reform astray, and thus hamper the sound development of the UN and the Security Council.

Reform should be conducive to promoting international harmony and the creation of an atmosphere of common stability, and conducive to boosting the cooperative spirit of UN member states, rather than leading to endless quarrel and even to the break-up of the UN. To achieve this, time is needed to listen to the full and free expressions of wishes made by various parties concerned, especially by the vast number of developing countries; time is needed for wide-ranging consultations, for bridging differences among various parties and for seeking consensus. Any coercion imposed on the UN and other member states by using "strength" and "contribution" by the "snack" method of setting a time limit and hastily making decisions is unhelpful to ironing out differences and defusing contradictions.

The strong rebound of the "Unity in Seeking Consensus" group upon the "G4" formula has especially proved that consensus reached through wide-ranging consultations is not only necessary, but also is imminent. The parties concerned should make further careful consideration to avoid making hasty decisions.

In regard to operation, the Security Council reform must help enhance the efficiency of the Security Council in promoting international peace, security and stability. The UN and the Security Council's "five permanent members" system were born through a lesson learned at the cost of blood from World War II. At the end of World War II, people still had lingering fear of the outbreak of a new world war, demanding that big countries bear irreplaceable responsibility for international peace and security, the Security Council and the "five permanent members" system emerged as the times required. But this does not mean that any country, once possessing the economic strength of a big country, can "draw a dipper with a gourd as model" and must also "become a permanent member".

"Becoming a permanent member" is not only an honor, it is all the more a kind of international responsibility. When condition is not ripe, if the "five permanent members" mechanism is willfully expanded or if the scope of the veto power is enlarged, the result will not only possibly lower the Security Council's efficiency, but also will become a new source of instability due to the strong international rebound.

Carried on the front page of People's Daily Overseas Edition, June 9, the article is translated by People's Daily Online

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