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China calls for upholding multilateralism at UN high-level meeting

By MINLU ZHANG in New York | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2021-05-08 08:52

China reiterated multilateralism and the UN-centered international system during a United Nations Security Council high-level meeting held on Friday.

Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi (C) chairs the UN Security Council's high-level videoconference briefing on "Maintenance of international peace and security: Upholding multilateralism and the United Nations-centered international system" on May 7, 2021. [Photo/Xinhua]

The "Upholding multilateralism and the UN-centered international system" meeting, chaired by China’s State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi, was the first high-level meeting convened by China as rotating council president for May.

"The United Nation is the banner of multilateralism. Pursue multilateralism, we must follow the basic norms governing international relations, build around the purposes and principles of the UN Charter. Uphold the authority and statures of the UN and insure its central role in international affairs," Wang said. "That is what it means to practice multilateralism. And its intrinsic nature is incompatible with unilateralism."

President Xi Jinping expanded on the essence of multilateralism and underscored the importance of sticking to multilateralism as the path forward at the high-level meeting to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the UN held last September, Wang said.

He said that amid the COVID-19 pandemic, all parties should firmly follow the path of mutually beneficial cooperation to truly practice multilateralism.

Wang called for win-win cooperation in fulfilling common prosperity goals, urging countries to start a dialogue based on mutual respect. Countries should work together to achieve security and prosperity for all, he said.

Wang then called for equity and justice. The essence of equity and justice is to promote the democratization of international relations and the key is to call for the rule of law in international relations.

"International rules are not patent or privileges of the few. It must be applicable to all countries and there is no room for exceptionalism or double standards," Wang said.

Wang suggested a focus on actions. The actions should not be short-sighted and should serve for long-time needs, and they must be acted in the common interests of all. The actions should also serve the long-term needs such as the long-term peace global sustainable development.

"Major countries, in particular, must lead by the example to provide global public goods," Wang said.

Wang also called to respect diversity and take a path of development suited to its own realities. This diversity, together with the common values of peace, development, equity, justice, democracy and freedom will unleash the power of multilateralism, Wang said.

"Splitting the world along the ideological line conflicts with a spirit of multilateralism, and is a regression in history," Wang said.

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China and the 50th anniversary of the restoration of its lawful seat in the UN. Standing at a new historical starting point, China will reiterate multilateralism and implement the major initiatives announced by Xi at the high-level meeting to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the UN, Wang said.

China will continue to support the UN-centered multilateralism system, to be a builder of world peace, a contributor to global development, a defender of international order and a provider of global public goods, he said.

The foreign ministers of Russia, the US, Mexico, Vietnam, Niger, Tunisia, Kenya, Ireland, Norway, Estonia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and the deputy foreign ministers of India, Britain and France attended the meeting.

"We have so many foreign ministers present. It shows that all the members of the Security Council attach great importance to multilateralism," said Wang.

The importance of upholding multilateralism, the necessity of defending the purposes and principles of the UN Charter and the urgency of the UN to play a greater role in international affairs have been emphasized in all statements. These are the greatest common denominator of all of our countries and the greatest consensus reached this meeting, Wang pointed out.

"We need real multilateralism," said Wang. "To achieve this, the key is to stay committed to openness, inclusiveness, the rule of law, consultation and cooperation, and pace with the times, and adhere to the principles of extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits."

China believes that real multilateralism is the common choice of the international community, which will show us the way out of the pandemic and contribute more to the maintenance of international peace and development, said Wang.

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