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Nation committed to multilateralism and helping other countries, ex-UN official says

By LIU YINMENG in Los Angeles | China Daily | Updated: 2021-10-26 09:38

Students fetch water from a borehole in a village in Ghana's Eastern Region in June 2018. China helped build boreholes to bring clean water to residents. ZHAO SHUTING/XINHUA

China has always committed to multilateralism and given its unwavering support to fellow developing countries, a former senior United Nations official said as China celebrates the 50th anniversary of the restoration of its legitimate rights at the international organization.

"Since its lawful restoration to the UN seat, the People's Republic of China has been a consistent advocate of a strong multilateral order, based on the principles of the UN Charter, and has been a consistent champion of the aspirations and interests of the countries of the Global South," Jorge Chediek, the UN secretary-general's former envoy on South-South cooperation, told China Daily in a recent interview.

On Oct 25, 1971, the 26th UN General Assembly adopted Resolution 2758 by an overwhelming majority. The resolution restored all lawful rights of the People's Republic of China at the UN and recognized its representatives as the "only lawful representatives of China to the UN". The move marked an important milestone in China's diplomatic history and ushered in a new chapter of China-UN relations.

Over the past 50 years, China has actively contributed to the UN and helped to facilitate international cooperation, Chediek said. He noted that China has demonstrated "remarkable generosity and commitment" in the global fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. Through its efforts, the nation has become the largest provider of vaccines to countries of the Global South, he said.

China also has taken up a leadership role in addressing challenges faced by developing countries, a group of nations known as the Global South. "China has consistently advocated a multilateral approach to global issues, strongly promoting the interests of peace and security through the UN Security Council and rejecting unilateral approaches on those matters," Chediek said. "In addition, China has provided strong leadership on issues of favorable trade and financing terms for the developing world."

In a speech delivered via video during the UN general debate in September, President Xi Jinping pledged continual support for developing countries, including an additional $3 billion in international assistance in the next three years to help fellow developing countries recover from COVID-19.

Chediek called the announcement "another demonstration of solidarity and commitment to development by the government of China".

The country has implemented "a very successful development model" that eliminated absolute poverty and established China as a moderately prosperous society in only four decades after the launch of the reform and opening-up, he said.

"The increasing generosity of Chinese cooperation is benefiting the global assistance architecture, as it challenges the traditional donors to do more and better, and also sets a remarkable example as the largest developing economy in the world to other countries of the Global South," Chediek said.

During the same speech, Xi also put forward the Global Development Initiative, which steers global development toward a new stage of balanced, coordinated and inclusive growth in the face of COVID-19.

Chediek said such an initiative is "sorely needed". The world was not on track to accomplish the UN Sustainable Development Goals even before the pandemic, which presented additional obstacles and highlighted new challenges, he said.

"Therefore, there is an even more urgent task to mobilize the whole international community around multilateral initiatives, with every country contributing their fair share under the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities," he said. "The leadership of China will be critical if we are to build a more fair and sustainable world, leaving no one behind."

Chediek, who is from Argentina, retired from the UN in 2020 after a long career at the intergovernmental organization. He has been instrumental in enhancing cooperation between the Office for South-South Cooperation and the Chinese government.

He held several important positions during his tenure, including as the head of the UN Office for South-South Cooperation, as well as the UN resident coordinator and United Nations Development Programme resident representative in Brazil, Peru, Nicaragua and other countries.

During his time at the UN, Chediek visited China frequently and was an important speaker at many high-level events, such as the 2020 China International Fair for Trade in Services and the Thematic Forum on Trade Connectivity of the Second Belt and Road Forum in 2019.

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