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China 'disappointed' at US veto of Palestinian full UN membership

By MINLU ZHANG at the United Nations | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2024-04-19 05:25

Representatives from the United Nations Security Council vote on Thursday in New York on a draft resolution that recommended the UN General Assembly admit Palestine as a full UN member. The resolution failed, as it was vetoed by the United States. MINLU ZHANG / China Daily

China's ambassador to the United Nations on Thursday said China "is very disappointed" with the United States' veto of a Palestinian request for full UN membership in the UN Security Council.

The Security Council on Thursday failed to adopt a draft resolution that recommended to the 193-member UN General Assembly that "the State of Palestine be admitted to membership of the United Nations".

The resolution received 12 votes in favor, two abstentions from the UK and Switzerland, and one vote against from the US.

For a draft resolution to pass, the council must have a minimum of nine members to vote in favor, with none of the permanent members — China, France, Russia, the UK and the US — exercising veto power.

"Today is a sad day," said Fu Cong, China's permanent representative to the United Nations. "Due to the veto of the United States, Palestine's application to become a full member of the United Nations was rejected, and the Palestinian people's decades-long dream was shattered.

"The establishment of an independent state has been the long-cherished wish of the Palestinian people for generations, and formally joining the UN is a key step in this historical process," Fu said.

The Palestinian mission first applied for full UN membership in 2011 but fell short of the required support, failing to secure the necessary nine out of 15 votes in the Security Council.

The Palestinians approached the UN General Assembly in November 2012 and successfully achieved an upgrade of their status from "UN observer" to "non-member observer state" by securing more than a two-thirds majority vote.

"Thirteen years is long enough, but relevant countries are still complaining that there is not enough time and they should not act in a hurry. Such a statement is disingenuous. Now more than ever, it is more urgent than ever to admit Palestine into full membership of the United Nations," said Fu.

He said China "cannot agree with" the statement that "the Palestinian state does not have the ability to govern the country".

"The situation in Palestine has undergone many changes in the past 13 years, the most fundamental of which is the continuous expansion of settlements in the West Bank. The living space of Palestine as a country has been continuously squeezed, and the foundation of the two-state solution has been continuously eroded," he said.

"Relevant countries turned a blind eye to this, adopted an attitude of acquiescence or even connivance, and now they are questioning Palestine's ability to govern. This is completely gangster logic that confuses right and wrong," Fu said.

He said questioning whether Palestine meets the membership criteria stipulated in the United Nations Charter, and whether Palestine is "peace-loving", is "too much".
"For the Palestinian people who have suffered from occupation, they are nothing short of rubbing salt into the wounds and are a great insult," Fu said.

"The establishment of an independent state is the indisputable national right of the Palestinian people, not subject to questioning or bargaining," he added.

He said as Israel continues to reject two-state solution, granting Palestine full UN membership "will afford it equal standing with Israel and facilitate the resumption of Palestinian-Israeli negotiations".

"All nations genuinely supportive of the two-state solution should endorse Palestine's formal UN membership," he said.

Robert Wood, US deputy permanent representative to the UN, told the council that the reason for the US veto was because "there was not unanimity" among members as to "whether the applicant met the criteria for membership".

"For example, there are unresolved questions as to whether the applicant meets the criteria to be considered a state," he said.

Riyad Mansour, permanent observer for the State of Palestine, conveyed gratitude to the countries that backed the bid for UN membership and to those that voted for the draft resolution.

"The fact that this resolution did not pass will not break our will, and it will not defeat our determination," he said.

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