This speech by China’s foreign minister Wang Yi, delivered at the Join Hands for a Shared Future Seminar to Commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the Restoration of The Lawful Seat of the People’s Republic of China in the United Nations, provides a succinct and powerful outline of China’s foreign policy framework and its approach to international relations. It sets out a clear vision of multilateralism and cooperation to tackle shared problems and build global peace and prosperity.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the restoration of the lawful seat of the People’s Republic of China in the United Nations. It is of great significance that we have in-depth discussions under the theme “Join Hands for a Shared Future.” Let me extend my congratulations on the successful opening of the seminar and express my appreciation to all the guests for your active participation and contribution.
At its 26th Session in 1971, the UN General Assembly adopted Resolution 2758 with an overwhelming majority, restoring all the lawful rights to the People’s Republic of China in the United Nations. This was a landmark in history. It signified that the UN had truly become the most representative and authoritative inter-governmental organization. It also opened a new chapter in China’s cooperation with the UN. Over the past 50 years, China, with concrete actions, has lived up to the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, and has served as an important builder of world peace, the biggest contributor to global development, and a firm defender of international order.
From once being excluded from the UN to now being a member of almost all universal inter-governmental organizations and shouldering important responsibilities as a permanent member of the UN Security Council, China has all along committed to the UN Charter, spoken up and acted for justice, and played a key role in upholding international equity and justice.
From sending just five military observers to the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO) for the first time to the second largest contributor to the UN peacekeeping budget and the top contributor of peacekeepers among the P5, China is now a crucial force for UN peacekeeping operations and has made outstanding contribution to safeguarding international peace and security.
From having the world’s largest poverty-stricken population to eliminating absolute poverty for the first time in its history and attaining the poverty reduction target under the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development ten years ahead of schedule, China has contributed to over 70 percent of global poverty reduction, setting a stellar example for this international endeavor.
From being the world’s biggest recipient of aid to a contributor to global development, China has implemented several thousand complete projects and programs of in-kind assistance, over 10,000 projects of technological cooperation and human resources development, and provided more than 400,000 training opportunities, benefiting over 160 fellow developing countries. It has launched the Belt and Road Initiative, creating the world’s largest cooperation platform and a Belt and Road family of 141 countries and 32 international organizations. This has greatly cemented and expanded gains in the common development of the world.
From lacking medical and health resources to a pillar in responding to global public health crises, China has engaged actively in international cooperation against COVID-19, honored its important commitment of making Chinese vaccines a global public good and given a strong boost to building the global immunization shield.
From inefficient development to actively leading global environmental and climate governance, China has earnestly implemented the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Paris Agreement, worked for harmony between man and nature, and set forth targets on carbon emission peak, carbon neutrality and new measures for Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs). All these efforts have actively contributed to global cooperation on addressing climate change and protecting the eco-environment.
There are more changes with historical significance like these. Fifty years is quite brief in terms of history. Yet China has created a miracle of human progress with its own development, and through which, has made greater contributions to world peace and development.
The world is at a new historical crossroads. Under the combined impacts of changes and a pandemic both unseen in a century, human development now faces multiple crises and the global governance system is undergoing profound adjustment. Now more than ever, the international community needs to come together to meet the challenges and promote common development. To this end, countries should build consensus and synergy in the following areas:
First, upholding multilateralism to safeguard world peace and stability. The UN-centered international system and basic norms in international relations based on the purposes and principles of the UN Charter are the pillars of multilateralism. We must oppose the use of multilateralism as a pretext by a few countries to impose their own rules on the whole international community so as to prevent creating new divisions and new conflicts. It is important to bridge differences through dialogue and resolve disputes through negotiation. Arbitrary unilateral sanctions or the use of force would only prolong hatred and perpetuate wars. No one will come out as a winner. China will stand, as always, on the side of peace and justice, follow the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, commit to the vision of common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security at the global level, and build a world of enduring peace and common security.
Second, strengthening pandemic cooperation to jointly build a line of defense for life and health. As the coronavirus continues to mutate and wreak havoc, pandemic control remains the top priority of the world. We must see to it that COVID vaccines are first and foremost a global public good, reject “vaccine nationalism”, and strive for the fair and equitable distribution of vaccines around the world. Origins-tracing is a serious science matter. Any approach based on presumption of guilt or motivated by political maneuvering is doomed to fail. Honoring the spirit of science, China will continue to work with all sides in active global origins-tracing, so as to contribute our share to humanity’s collective effort to prevent future pandemics. In his message to the First Meeting of the International Forum on COVID-19 Vaccine Cooperation, President Xi Jinping announced that China will strive to provide two billion doses of vaccines to the world in the course of this year, and donate US$100 million to the COVAX Facility. This is a major step on China’s part to follow through on its commitment of making COVID vaccines a global public good, and will boost the global effort to end the pandemic at an early date.
Third, putting development first to promote common prosperity across the globe. Increasingly uneven development in the world poses a severe challenge to developing countries. We need to ensure that the UN plays fully its role as a coordinator, put development high on the global macro-policy agenda, and implement the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in a comprehensive, balanced and robust way. We need to focus on the concerns of developing countries such as COVID-19 control, poverty reduction, food security, education and health, mobilize more development resources for them, provide support in terms of financing, technology and capacity building, and foster global development partnerships that are more equal and balanced. China is ready to work with all countries to build a world of common development and prosperity, one that leaves no one or no country behind.
Fourth, embracing openness and inclusiveness to develop an open world economy. Economic globalization is an inevitable path in the progress of human society; fostering an open world economy represents the trend of the times. We need to safeguard the multilateral trading system with the WTO as its cornerstone, ensure the stable and smooth operation of global industrial and supply chains, and work with a unity of purpose to bring the global economy onto a path of strong, sustainable, balanced and inclusive growth. De-globalization that opts for closing doors and decoupling serves no one’s interest and will only lead to a dead end. China welcomes all countries, international organizations, multinational corporations, financial institutions and non-governmental organizations to join in Belt and Road cooperation. We believe that it will advance economic integration and share benefits across the world, and will inject more impetus into global recovery and growth.
Fifth, improving climate governance to build a clean and beautiful world. The climate crisis is worsening, and the international community must unite without delay to tackle climate change. Developed countries must move expeditiously to deliver their climate financing commitment to developing countries. All countries need to continue to implement the Paris Agreement through NDCs and international cooperation according to the principles of common but differentiated responsibilities, equity and respective capabilities, and jointly promote a fair and equitable system of global climate governance for win-win cooperation. China will host COP15 to the Convention on Biological Diversity this October. We look forward to working with all parties to advance global governance on biodiversity and build a community of life for man and nature.
Sixth, enhancing exchanges and mutual learning to promote the progress of human civilization. Countries differ in history, culture, system and level of development; each has its own unique features. We must reject prejudice that is based on systems and models, rise above ideological differences, and uphold the common values of humanity of peace, development, equity, justice, democracy and freedom. We must respect different civilizations’ perception and understanding of what these values mean, appreciate the explorations and practices of different countries to realize these values, and take the endorsement and satisfaction of the people of the country concerned as the ultimate criterion. China is ready to work with all countries on the basis of mutual respect and equality to promote exchanges and mutual learning among civilizations and build an open and inclusive world.
At a time of tumultuous changes, we must take the path that is right for humanity. No matter how the international landscape evolves, China will resolutely safeguard UN’s core role in international affairs, stay firmly on the right side of history, strive to build a community with a shared future for mankind, join hands with all progressive forces in the world, and work tirelessly to advance the noble cause of peace and development for humanity.