Interview: China-UN relations to reach new height, says top UN official

19:57, October 09, 2009      

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"I believe China-UN relations will reach a new height. China's engagement in UN affairs will be increasingly deep and comprehensive," Sha Zukang, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs at the United Nations, told Xinhua in a recent interview.

With the launching of its reform and opening-up policy, China's comprehensive national power had begun to ascend, and its national interests had expanded, Sha said, adding that China's participation in the UN had increased.

"As a permanent member of the Security Council and the largest developing country, China is committed to multilateralism. China is a firm, steadfast supporter of the UN," he said.

The veteran Chinese diplomat, 62, assumed his current position two years ago. Before that, Sha held numerous key posts in the Chinese diplomatic service. He served in various missions abroad, including London, Colombo, New Delhi, New York and Geneva.


"Today, China is playing a dynamic and constructive role in the UN," Sha noted.

He observed that China maintained good collaborative relations with other member states, in particular with other developing countries, safeguarding their "shared broad interests."

"How to promote the rights and interests of developing countries is a key factor determining the Chinese position at the Security Council," Sha said, pointing out that through the "G-77 (the Group of 77) plus China" formula, China had worked together with other developing countries to vigorously champion developing countries' rights and interests.

Sha said China also enjoyed relatively good relations with developed countries and was seeking to play a constructive role in promoting multilateral collaboration.

"China exercises its veto power at the Security Council prudently. Likewise, in other UN commissions or committees, China cast 'against' votes with caution," he said.


When asked how he handled the balance between being both a Chinese and a UN official, Sha stressed that China's interests are "in harmony, and not in contradiction, with the interests of the international community."

China accounts for one fifth of the world's population. By helping China, the UN was helping the world. China, in turn, was making a tremendous contribution to the world in meeting the challenges of the 21st century, he asserted.

According to Sha, China represented an important force for peace and development; moreover, within the UN, China was a driving force for cooperation.

"In short, China conducts its foreign policy in a principled, reasonable manner. Member states welcome such an approach," he said.


"The prevalent view is that China will be having even greater impact on international affairs. Therefore, China will need to take on more duties and obligations," Sha reasoned. "However, asking China to sacrifice more and more human and financial resources, without China being listened to -- that, in my view, will be unacceptable."

"China's influence will expand -- this is inexorable," he said." It is a different era today. Close to all issues involve China's national interests, calling for China's deep engagement."

At the same time, the international community welcomed and needed China's comprehensive engagement in international affairs, with their ever increasing expectations for China, he said.

"China has a rightful place at the table. It marks China's deepening engagement. That said, it is not tantamount to the right to dominate; still less the right to hegemony," Sha said.

There was no need for China, a permanent member of the Security Council, to be "shy about her power," he added.

"As a matter of fact, developing countries, including China, are still owed their fair say in international affairs. That is what is often referred to as unfair, unjustifiable international order," he said.

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