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UN Security Council reform is not unilateral action

China Daily | Updated: 2023-09-21 07:47

It is no secret that the Joe Biden administration is lobbying the United Nations member states to accept Germany, Japan, India and Brazil as permanent members of the UN Security Council.

In 2009, the UN launched intergovernmental negotiations on reform of the Security Council, but no progress has been made. Since the 77th session of the UN General Assembly last year, the United States has actively pushed for the reform of the security body, calling for the expansion of the number of seats to 11 and the restriction of the veto power of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council.

But Washington's proposal is not about making the council more representative and regionally balanced. Italy, Argentina, the Republic of Korea, Mexico, Pakistan and other countries, as well as the African Union have proposed Security Council reform plans or sought to become a permanent member of it, but they have not been supported by the US.

The US move is ultimately driven by geopolitical considerations. The background of the US' proposal is the escalation of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine. The US hopes to pressure Russia, as well as China, at the UN level. Japan and India are the two poles of Washington's China-targeted "Indo-Pacific" strategy, Germany is the center of Europe to deal with Russia, and Brazil is the No 1 country in the US' backyard of Latin America. It can be said that this is largely a deployment against China and Russia.

But the conditions are far from ripe. For one thing, according to procedure, reform of the UN Security Council should have the framework of a resolution first, which must be approved by more than two-thirds of the 193 UN members. In the case of historical grievances and real geopolitical conflicts, Biden's support for the four countries may not be recognized by the majority of UN members.

And any reform of the UN Security Council needs the support of at least nine of the 15 members of the body, as well as the condition that all five permanent members do not oppose it. Russia has previously made clear its opposition to the US-led reform.

If the UN Security Council permanent membership is expanded, priority must be given to increasing the representation and voice of developing countries. That will ensure that small and medium-sized countries have more opportunities to participate in decision-making on the UN Security Council, and the reform must adhere to the principle of geographical balance and take into account the representation of different cultures and civilizations. China's position is well known and appreciated by most UN member states.


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