State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi Delivers Remarks To the ECOSOC High-level Conversation
2020/07/18

On 17 July, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi delivered remarks titled "Firmly Uphold Multilateralism and Build a Community with a Shared Future for Mankind" via video link to the high-level conversation of the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) themed "Multilateralism after COVID-19: What Kind of UN Do We Need at the 75th Anniversary?".

In his remarks, Wang said that seventy-five years ago, our fathers' generation won the epic victory of the World anti-Fascist War following a heroic struggle. The United Nations thus came into being and has since played an indispensable role in safeguarding peace and promoting development. Seventy-five years on, our world has seen profound shifts, accentuated by the enormous impact of COVID-19. The myriad challenges before us have driven home the fact that the interests of all countries are interconnected, and our world is increasingly an indivisible community with a shared future.

Wang noted that amid the once-in-a-century changes, the world needs a stronger, not weaker, UN. The UN's authority must be upheld, not undermined. Our times calls for a United Nations that safeguards world peace and security, and fairness and justice; a United Nations that advocates harmonious co-existence across different races, systems and cultures; a United Nations that champions common development by addressing the North-South gap; and a United Nations that keeps abreast of the times and effectively responds to global challenges.

Wang put forward the following four proposals:

First, we need to uphold multilateralism and reject unilateralism and protectionism. We must always stand on the side of multilateralism and international justice. We must uphold the international system built around the UN, safeguard the WTO-centered multilateral trading regime and speed up the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. We need to say no to unilateralism. We need to oppose any act of walking away from international organizations and treaties or replacing them with something out of nowhere. No one should challenge or undermine universally recognized rules out of selfish interests.

Second, we need to support greater democracy in international relations and reject hegemonism and power politics. Issues that matter internationally must be addressed through consultation between nations. Any country claiming that its own interests should be placed above the common interests of the global community is doomed to failure. The basic norms governing international relations, such as respect for national sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity and non-interference in internal affairs, must be observed by all.

Countries, irrespective of their size, strength and wealth, are equal. Consultation, cooperation and benefit for all should be our guiding principle. Dialogue and consultation should be the way forward in addressing differences and disputes, rather than unwarranted unilateral actions such as economic blockade, financial sanctions, acts of bullying and power politics, and still less gross interference in other countries' internal affairs.

Third, we need to safeguard the international order underpinned by international law and reject unlawful acts and double standards. We must firmly uphold the purposes and principles of the UN Charter. We need one single set of rules, not double standards or selective application of these rules, when determining the merits of an issue. It is unacceptable to use the rule of law as a pretext to infringe on the legitimate rights and interests of other countries or even undermine peace and stability.

Fourth, we need to call for solidarity and cooperation and reject self-conceit and beggar-thy-neighbor practices. In fighting the disease, we must always follow a people-first approach and put saving lives above all else. The world needs to come together and give the World Health Organization (WHO) full support in playing its statutory role. Any politicization, stigmatization or name-calling associated with the virus must be rejected, so should scapegoating and blame-shifting.

We need to keep global industrial and supply chains stable and uninterrupted and reject technological hegemony. National security should not be used as a cover for discriminatory or exclusive policies.

Wang underscored that China is a firm proponent and practitioner of multilateralism. China has all along supported the UN in playing an active role and upheld its authority and stature. In fighting COVID-19, we have fully supported the work of the UN. China will fully deliver on the actions announced by President Xi Jinping at the 73rd World Health Assembly and contribute all it can to the global fight against the disease.

Wang reaffirmed that China is ready to work with other parties for peace and development in keeping with the trend of the times and guided by multilateralism, and build an open, inclusive, clean and beautiful post-COVID-19 world that enjoys lasting peace, security and prosperity for all.

This high-level conversation was jointly initiated by the Presidents of the UN General Assembly and ECOSOC. Secretary-General António Guterres delivered opening remarks, and Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi as well as foreign ministers and high-level representatives from over 30 countries attended the conversation. Participants exchanged views on how to uphold multilateralism and strengthen the role of the UN in a post-COVID-19 world and sent a positive message of enhancing cooperation against common challenges under the current circumstances.

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