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Chinese envoy calls for creating favorable conditions for food security

Xinhua | Updated: 2023-05-24 14:54

Zhang Jun, China's permanent representative to the UN. [Photo/Xinhua]

UNITED NATIONS - Chinese permanent representative to the United Nations, Zhang Jun, on Tuesday called on countries to resolve disputes through peaceful means and help those in conflicts attain peace and stability without delay, so as to create favorable conditions to protect civilians and ensure food security.

The food crisis worsens the humanitarian situation, further compounding the plight of civilians, Zhang told the UN Security Council (UNSC) in the open debate on the theme of "Ensuring the security and dignity of civilians in conflict: addressing food insecurity and protecting essential services."

"We call upon conflicting parties to abide by resolutions 2417 and 2573 of the UNSC, effectively implement their obligations under international laws, including humanitarian law, to protect civilians, give priority attention to vulnerable groups, including women and children, and to ensure safe and unimpeded humanitarian assistance," Zhang said.

"All countries should abide by the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, advocate cooperation, and reject confrontation, so as to create a favorable environment for peace," he said.

He calls upon traditional donors to increase their assistance and to provide more emergency humanitarian assistance in terms of food and financing to the countries that are in need of them.

"Assistance should not be regarded as a lever for political gain. There should be no additional conditions attached and no selectivity when it comes to assistance. The humanitarian requirements of all receiving countries should be treated equally," Zhang stressed.

Noting that the humanitarian situation in Afghanistan equally requires attention, the envoy said that the United States has long seized the overseas assets of Afghanistan, which has exacerbated the humanitarian crisis in the country.

"We urge the United States to heed the strong appeals of the Afghan people and the international community and to return to the Afghan people those assets that are legitimately theirs, so that they can be used to tackle humanitarian challenges, including food shortages within the country," Zhang said.

On the supply chain, the envoy said that China welcomes the Black Sea Grain Initiative which was renewed again recently, adding that it will be conducive to ensuring the international food supply.

Zhang pointed out that food, as a major international bulk commodity, has been highly financialized and monetized.

"The main driver of this round of massive hikes in food prices is the adoption by individual countries in recent years of extraordinary monetary policies featuring quantitative easing," Zhang said.

He urged relevant countries, in designing their monetary policies, to give serious attention to the spillover effect of their policies, and show more care to the interests of the developing countries and how these policies are received, so as to avoid artificial distortion and abnormal fluctuation of the food prices.

"We firmly reject weaponizing economic interdependence and engaging in unilateral sanctions and decoupling and disrupting the international supply chain, with the aim to harm other countries' enterprises and attack their infrastructure," he said.

He called upon relevant countries to change their subsidy policies so as to reduce the impact on the market of agro-products of developing countries.

"The Security Council should take a balanced approach to security and development and lay emphasis on agriculture, rural and farmer-related issues in peacebuilding and help the relevant countries increase their capacity building to resolve the food crisis from the source," Zhang said.

The UN agencies for food and agriculture, UN development agencies, and international financial institutions should each leverage their advantage and mobilize broad international resources, and deepen cooperation, so as to provide more support to post-conflict countries and developing countries in terms of financing, technology, training, and management, he said.

"As a long-standing promoter and contributor to international food security, China will continue to work with the rest of the world in order to implement the Global Development Initiative proposed by the Chinese leader and deepen cooperation of food security and poverty reduction, so as to build a world without war and conflict and free from hunger and poverty," he added.

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