China to play a more positive and constructive role

16:37, September 21, 2009

Prior to President Hu Jintao's visit to New York and Pittsburgh in the U.S. to attend a series of United Nations (UN) meetings and the third Group of 20 (G20) financial summit, Zhang Yesui, China's permanent representative to the UN, accepted an interview with the People's Daily on September 18. Zhang said that President Hu's participation in a series of UN meetings and the third G20 financial summit is not only a significant diplomatic activity before the celebration of the 60th anniversary of the founding of New China, but also significantly marks the highest number of summits that any Chinese president has ever attended in one overseas trip.

China's view of the current international situation
Reporter: What is the relevance of President Hu Jintao attending a series of international meetings in the context of the current international situation?

Zhang: President Hu will attend a series of meetings held in New York and Pittsburgh respectively from September 21 through September 25. During his visit to New York, President Hu will participate in the UN Climate Change Summit on September 22, the general debate of the UN General Assembly on September 23 and the nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament summit of UN Security Council on September 24. In Pittsburgh, President Hu will attend the third G20 financial summit from September 24 through September 25. President Hu's visit is not only a significant diplomatic activity before the celebration of the 60th anniversary of the founding of New China, but also marks the highest number of summits that any Chinese president has ever attended in one overseas trip.

The current international situation is generally stable, but the world is not peaceful. On the one hand, existing regional conflicts and hot-spot problems still exist without the prospect for solution. On the other hand, the international community is facing a marked increase in new challenges. There are three particularly noticeable challenges: firstly, impacted by the international financial crisis and global economic recession, the development problem is becoming more conspicuous, in particular for developing countries; secondly, global problems such as terrorism, infectious diseases, climate change, energy and food security are serious; thirdly, problems with the outdated international governance system are very serious. In such context, the international community universally expects intensified international cooperation, and hopes that the UN will continue to play its important role.

President Hu will use the series of international summits as an opportunity to comprehensively elaborate on China's view of the current international situation and major global problems. President Hu's attendance at the summits shows that China supports the effective handling of common threats and challenges facing the international community through strengthening international cooperation, and that China supports the UN in playing an important role in international affairs.

China's position on climate change
Reporter: The upcoming UN climate change summit has attracted close attention across the world. During the summit, President Hu will comprehensively elaborate on China's position and propositions on climate change, call on the international community to intensify cooperation to handle the challenge posed by climate change, explain the efforts made by China and announce further measures the country will take. This will be the first time that a Chinese leader will make a keynote speech on climate change at the rostrum of the UN. Please explain what expectations do the various UN member have about this.

Zhang: On September 22, President Hu will comprehensively elaborate on China's position and propositions on climate change at the opening ceremony of the UN climate change summit.

The climate change issue is fundamentally a development problem. Handling climate change is both an important part of China's implementation of the Scientific Outlook on Development and pursuit of sustainable development, and one of China's basic national strategies.

The climate change issue has taken shape through long-term accumulation since mankind started engaging in production activity, and in particular since the industrial revolution, so it should therefore be treated from a historical perspective. In terms of historically cumulative emissions, emissions by developed countries account for three quarters of the world's total. In terms of per capita emissions, the per capita emissions of developing countries is just a quarter of that of developed countries. Therefore, tackling the climate change issue should firmly adhere to the principle of "common but differentiated responsibilities" with developed countries assuming their obligations and responsibilities to take the lead in reducing emissions.

Climate change is a severe challenge facing all mankind and concerns the survival and development of mankind, so the international community should further strengthen cooperation and tackle the issue jointly. China is willing to work together with other countries to make a greater contribution to protecting the global climate in the spirit of being responsible for Chinese people, for all mankind and for future generations.

China's role in the UN
Reporter: In 2005, President Hu put forward a proposal to develop a harmonious world of lasting peace and common prosperity at the rostrum of the UN for the first time. This idea has attracted widespread attention globally, and developing countries in particular welcomed the voice of China that reflects the common concerns of people in various countries. What is your opinion on how UN developing country members treat the role played by China?

Zhang: As a developing country, China and many developing countries all over the world have both the same or similar historical experiences and common development tasks and challenges. Improving and developing unity and cooperation with numerous developing countries is the foundation of China's diplomatic policies. Since the founding of New China, the Chinese government has always been committed to supporting both just struggles of people of Asia, Africa and Latin America for the pursuit and safeguarding of national independence, and their efforts to develop national economy. Since China carried out reform and opening-up, friendly cooperation between China and developing countries in various regions has continued to make significant progress.
In 1971, China recovered its legal seat in the United Nations (UN) thanks to the support of developing countries. In terms of UN's work in various fields, China attaches great importance to its close coordination and cooperation with other developing members and actively safeguards the general rights and interests of developing countries. In the fields of economic and social development, China participates in discussions held by "the Group of 77 plus China." In the political field, China is the observer to the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), understanding and supporting the reasonable demands and proposals of NAM members.

China has actively and constructively participated in the settlement of hot regional issues in Sudan's Darfur region, Somalia, Congo (Kinshasa), Iraq and Afghanistan. China advocates the UN Security Council respecting the state sovereignty and territorial integrity of countries concerned as well as their independently-chosen development road in dealing with related issues. China has focused on participating in peacekeeping operations conducted in developing countries. China attaches great importance to the development of developing countries and vigorously supports South-South international cooperation. It has been committed to the progress of UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and has successively implemented a series of policies and measures to support developing countries.

While at present the international community is coping with the financial and economic crises, China has urged the need to pay particular attention to and minimize the impact on developing countries, and in particular the least-developed countries, and to adopt practical measures to cope with challenges in the realization of MOGs. China actively supports UN and the Security Council reforms, and actively promotes adjusting the international financial system. It has advocated preferentially increasing the representativeness of developing countries, and the right to speak and make decisions in international systems. China's above proposals and efforts have won it understanding, trust and support from developing countries.

Reporter: China has always valued and supported the UN in its efforts to play a positive role in international affairs. China adheres to the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, abides by international law and widely-recognized norms governing international relations, and carries forward the spirits of democracy, harmony, cooperation and win-win. As China's UN envoy, what's your first-hand experience of China's status as a cooperator, constructor and participator in the UN arena to build the image of a responsible country?

Zhang: China's recovery of a legal seat in the UN in 1971 has facilitated a historic turn in the country's multilateral diplomacy. Over the 30 years of reform and opening-up, China's comprehensive national strength has been enhanced markedly and its status and role in the world has become increasingly apparent. China's multilateral diplomacy has realized a historic transformation.

UN affairs are an important part of China's multilateral diplomatic work. In recent years, China has significantly enhanced its participation in various fields relating to UN affairs. As a permanent member of the UN Security Council and the largest developing country, China has adhered to principles and upheld justice in dealing with hot regional issues and played an important and unique role in maintaining world peace and security. China attaches great importance to international cooperation, actively participates in negotiations and the formulation of international rules, and strives to assume the international responsibilities and obligations allowed by its national strength. China has successively joined over 130 inter-governmental international organizations and more than 300 international multilateral treaties. China actively promotes international cooperation in coping with various global issues and has made great efforts to realize the MDGs, support the revitalization and development of Africa as well as jointly cope with the financial and economic crises, climate change, food, energy, resources and public health safety.

China has achieved gradual development in participating in multilateral diplomacy, such as its participation in UN peacekeeping operations. I worked in China's Permanent Mission to the UN between 1988 and 1992. During that period, China dispatched five military observers to the UN Truce Supervision Organization in April 1990, which was the first time that China participated in UN peacekeeping operations. In 2008 when I worked in the Truce Supervision Organization again, China had successively participated in 22 UN peacekeeping operations and dispatched an accumulative amount of nearly 20,000 peacekeeping staff. At present, 2,155 Chinese peacekeeping members are working in 10 UN peacekeeping mission areas. China ranks fourth among 116 countries that dispatch troops for UN peacekeeping operations. In recent years moreover, China has contributed significantly increased funds to UN peacekeeping operations, ranking seventh among UN members. I believe that with China's further development, and especially the further expansion of its capacity to participate in multilateral diplomacy, China will certainly play an increasingly active and constructive role in international affairs.

By People's Daily Online

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