On Oct. 25, 1971, at its 26th session, the UN General Assembly adopted Resolution 2758 that decided to restore all lawful rights of the People’s Republic of China in the UN. It marked an important opportunity for the UN, the most universal international organization, to make further progress.
This historic moment came shortly after I started a career at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Korea, and this piece of big news impressed me very much. During the 10 years when I served as the UN Secretary-General, I had diverse communication and negotiation with China, which made me quite aware of the important role played by the country in the international society.
Solidarity and partnership are important factors driving the progress of human society, and the UN was founded exactly to promote them. Since the establishment of the UN in 1945, the organization has been committed to the peace and development of the entire human rice and attached high importance to human rights, and thus grown into the most universal international organization in the world today.
To enhance multilateral cooperation is particularly important for the organization to stay true to its founding aspiration and cope with global challenges. China has always been a firm supporter and true follower of multilateralism, and actively conducted multilateral cooperation, which echoes with the spirit of the UN Charter and is of vital importance to solving global issues.
China’s economic and social development has made important contributions to achieving the UN’s Millennium Development Goals and implementing the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The vision of innovative, coordinated, green, open and shared development raised by China exactly resonates with the “5 Ps” that shape the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development: people, planet, prosperity, peace and partnership.
China’s poverty alleviation achievements have set an important example for the cause of global poverty reduction. One of the Millennium Development Goals is to reduce the world’s extreme poverty rate by half by 2015, compared to the 1990 level. Since the reform and opening-up of China in 1978, the country has lifted hundreds of millions of people out of poverty, which was of vital importance for the UN to have reached the goal five years in advance. The country’s completion of its poverty reduction goal is not only a historic achievement of its own, but also a milestone in the realization of the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
To enhance the well-being of the entire human race, China, while pursuing its own development achievements, upholds the global governance philosophy of extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits, and is actively advancing South-South Cooperation. It joins hands with developing countries for mutual assistance, and by further expanding its foreign aid and cooperation, enhances its support for them in poverty reduction, education, health and many other areas. The Forum on China-Africa Cooperation is a model of South-South Cooperation. Under this framework, China has offered huge assistance for African countries to implement the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. As an initiator of the framework, I very much recognize and appreciate the role played by China.
Climate change is an important challenge facing our humanity and planet. Therefore, the international society needs to act in solidarity and build a sustainable future. In recent years, China has already demonstrated to the international society its resolution to follow a low-carbon and sustainable path of development and build a resource-conserving and environment-friendly society. The Chinese idea that “lucid waters and lush mountains are invaluable assets” is quite impressive. Actively joining the multilateral cooperation on climate governance, China has made important and constructive contributions to tackling climate change.
China is working to cope with the common challenges facing the international society, and it deserves high evaluation in this regard. The COVID-19 pandemic is a reminder that we humanity can either rise together or fall apart depending upon our strong conviction on the concept of shared future. Therefore, to defeat difficulties, we must take the sharp weapon of solidarity and cooperation. China’s role and contribution are obvious to all.
In the past 50 years since China restored its lawful seat in the UN, it has always upheld the purposes and principles of the UN Charter. As a founding member of the UN and a permanent member of the UN Security Council, China has made important contributions in a wide range of areas such as maintaining world peace and stability and promoting global development. The country will play a bigger role in the UN, and I’m sure about that.
(Ban Ki-moon is the eighth Secretary-General of the UN)