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Following the Path of Multilateralism

2020-11-02 09:14:00 Source:China Today Author:HOU RUILI
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The year 2020 marks the 75th anniversary of the founding of the United Nations (UN). However, the COVID-19 pandemic is compounding the once-in-a-century transformations unfolding across our world. More than ever before, human society is in need of peaceful development and win-win cooperation.

The UN, as the most universal, representative, and authoritative international organization, promotes its agenda and works in the fields of security, development, and human rights, which has helped shape international relations. On the shoulders of the UN the whole world has placed great expectations.

The UN is an ardent advocate of multilateralism. The fundamental principle of multilateralism is that international affairs should be handled by all countries through consultations, based on the rules agreed by every nation, and that the interests and concerns of all countries must be taken into consideration. Upholding the concept of “one world, one family,” all countries should work together to build a community with a shared future for humankind.

China firmly advocates multilateralism and actively responds to the “global warning” issued by UN Secretary-General António Guterres in July. After emphasizing the seriousness of the global situation, he called for global solidarity and cooperation to establish inclusive and effective multilateral mechanisms, giving full play to global governance, rather than acting upon their own will as some countries do.

Chinese President Xi Jinping delivered a series of speeches at the high-level meeting to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the UN, the General Debate of the 75th Session of the UN General Assembly, the UN Summit on Biodiversity, and the high-level meeting to commemorate the 25th Anniversary of the Fourth World Conference on Women held in Beijing. Sticking closely to the theme of “the future we want, the United Nations we need,” President Xi expounded on the strategic thinking about the future and destiny of humankind, and proposed that from the high ground of safeguarding the common and long-term interests of humankind, all countries should establish a sense of a community with a shared future, and carry out win-win cooperation, combining their own interests with the common interests of all countries. Member states must adhere to the path of multilateralism and safeguard the international system with the UN at its core.

Reeling from the unprecedented impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the whole world has united in the fight against the coronavirus. Xi promised that COVID-19 vaccine development and deployment in China, when available, would be made a global public good, and meanwhile China would ensure vaccine accessibility and affordability in developing countries. This move has been applauded by the UN and the international community. At the same time, this pandemic has shown that humanity needs a kickstart to accelerate the formation of green development and lifestyle. President Xi announced that China will adopt more vigorous policies and measures to reach CO2 emission peak by 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality by 2060. This ambitious and important announcement demonstrates China’s responsible and constructive attitude in responding to global challenges, and has received global acclaims.

As a staunch supporter of the UN, President Xi announced a series of major measures that China will take to support the UN: China will donate US $50 million to the UN COVID-19 Global Humanitarian Response Plan, US $50 million to the China-UN Food and Agriculture Organization South-South Cooperation Trust Fund (Phase III), extend the China-UN Peace and Development Fund for five more years after expiration in 2025, donate another US $10 million to UN Women over the next five years, and establish the UN Global Geographic Information Knowledge and Innovation Center and the international research center for processing big data for sustainable development. All these measures represent China’s initiative to promote international peace and development, and are practical moves to support multilateralism.

The UN is a platform and mechanism for international cooperation. The cooperative relationship between China and the UN focuses on mutual learning and exchanges of ideas, values, cultures, and practices. In the formulation of multilateral agenda and the process of project cooperation, the UN’s inclusive global philosophy, principled values, and practical experience have been disseminated in China, and China’s ideas and experience have become an integral part of the UN’s global value and agenda. From 1979 to 1989, China’s share of UN’s dues was basically kept at less than one percent. Since 2010, China’s annual contribution has risen to 12 percent; and its share of peacekeeping funds has reached 15 percent, making China the second largest contributor to the UN’s dues and peacekeeping funds. China has also shifted from a former UN aid recipient to a donor for many UN agencies. In 2020, China’s position paper on the 75th anniversary of the founding of the UN stated that through the China-UN Peace and Development Fund, the two sides have carried out more than 80 projects with a capital volume of US $67.7 million, providing support for UN’s work in fields of peacekeeping, anti-terrorism, energy, agriculture, infrastructure, health, and education initiatives among others. As China has become an important global partner of the UN, strengthening the cooperation between China, the UN, and its member states is a win-win option for all.

As a defender and practitioner of multilateralism, China will continue to work with other countries to firmly maintain the international system with the UN at its core, the law-based international order, and the central role of the UN in international affairs. As a responsible major country, China is willing to play an important role in the joint efforts of the international community to create a better future for the world.

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