China's role as an advocate of the peaceful settlement of disputes is appreciated and welcomed in the world

17:13, March 19, 2010      

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Ronda Hauben

I was asked to comment on the question "How do you regard China's function in International Affairs?"

As a resident correspondent at the United Nations reporting for a South Korean publication, it is helpful to hear China's views on the different issues before the United Nations, particularly when China supports the effort for negotiation and political solutions to problems rather than coercive measures.

One such situation is the issue of whether Iran should have the right to do nuclear enrichment for the peaceful use of nuclear energy as Iran holds as its right under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT). Some of the permanent members of the Security Council claim that mastering the process of nuclear enrichment will give Iran the ability to create nuclear weapons. These permanent members also hold that they know that Iran's actual intent is not toward the peaceful use of nuclear technology, but for military purposes. This dispute over whether the NPT is a treaty providing for the peaceful use of nuclear technology or if nuclear enrichment has to be forbidden is a serious issue of contention. China has advocated negotiation to solve the dispute. There has been much pressure by some of the permanent nations on the Security Council on China trying to force China to change its position.

There has been a similar situation with respect to China's support for the conflict between the US and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) to be settled via negotiation and peaceful processes, rather than the continual increasing of sanctions against the DPRK and the continual development by the DPRK of what it claims is its need for a nuclear deterrent to protect itself from the hostile actions of the US.

Also China has acted to support a political, negotiated process to the conflict over Darfur rather than increasing the use of coercion against Sudan.

I realize that these efforts by China often resulted in its receiving a hostile treatment by some of the mainstream western media. China's ability to withstand such pressure and find ways to counter it, however, will earn it the increasing respect of the majority of those around the world who make up the international community.

One possible means of support for China's efforts is to welcome more press coverage and questions, particularly on the contentious issues that come before the Security Council. While a few of the permanent members of the Security Council frequently present their positions to the international media who cover the United Nations, perhaps understandable China is less often available for such presentations and questions. There is, however, a wide range of media at the United Nations, and if China would more often present its views and interact with the media, this will make it possible to have a more wide ranging coverage of China's approach to contentious issues.

In 2003 there was an effort of some of the permanent members of the Security Council to get a resolution passed in the Security Council supporting the planned invasion of Iraq. The widespread international press coverage of the opposition by other nations to this resolution, however, prevented such a resolution supporting the invasion from being passed by the Security Council.

China has begun to gain the respect of many in the international community by its support for negotiations and political solutions to conflicts. If China can strengthen its resolve and actions in this endeavor and welcome more press coverage of its efforts, it can play an increasingly important role of being an advocate for the widespread desire for the peaceful settlement of disputes that prevails among the people of the world.

The article represents the author's views only. It does not represent opinions of People's Daily or People's Daily Online.
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