By H.E. CAO Xiaolin, Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to the Kingdom of Tonga
This year marks the 75th anniversary of the establishment of the United Nations. Chinese President Xi Jinping and leaders from countries in the world, including the Tongan Prime Minister, Hon. Tu’i’onetoa, joined the high-level meeting to commemorate the 75th Anniversary of the UN, the general debate of the 75th session of the UN General Assembly and some other important meetings virtually.
The leaders reviewed the establishment and development of UN, discussed its future work and outlook, and reached important consensus on upholding multilateralism, COVID-19 response, environment protection and sustainable development, and the protection of women’s rights and interests.
I would like to take this opportunity to give a brief introduction on China’s position and measures on these issues to my Tongan friends.
Multilateralism and UN-centred
First, China firmly upholds multilateralism and the UN-centered international system. Mankind has entered a new era of interconnectedness, with countries sharing intertwined interests and their future closely linked together. The outbreak of COVID-19 again shows that global threats and global challenges require strong, global responses, no country can be immune. We should rise above ideological disputes, respect a country’s independent choice of development path and model, stay true to multilateralism and safeguard the international system with the UN at its core. We should stick to the principle of extensive consultation, joint cooperation and shared benefits in order to build a global governance regime with equal consultation and win-win cooperation as well as a big international community with harmonious development. This not only conforms to the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, but also in line with the common expectation of all member states of UN.
As President Xi pointed out at the UN meetings, China was the first to sign on the Charter of the United Nations. It is a founding member of the UN and the only developing country that takes a permanent seat on the Security Council. China will continue to be a true follower of multilateralism. It will stay actively engaged in reforming and developing the global governance system. It will firmly uphold the UN-centered international system, firmly uphold the international order underpinned by international law, and firmly defend the UN’s central role in international affairs. To this end, China promises to take the following measures:
- China will provide another US$50 million to the UN COVID-19 Global Humanitarian Response Plan.
- China will provide US$50 million to the China-FAO South-South Cooperation Trust Fund (Phase III).
- China will extend the Peace and Development Trust Fund between the UN and China by five years after it expires in 2025.
- China will set up a UN Global Geospatial Knowledge and Innovation Center and an International Research Center of Big Data for Sustainable Development Goals to facilitate the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Active international cooperation
Second, China will take an active part in international cooperation and strive for the final victory against COVID-19. Major changes unseen in a century are taking place in our world. The sudden attack of COVID-19 is a grave test for the entire world. People of different countries have come together. With courage, resolve and compassion which lit the dark hour, we have confronted the disaster head on. While fighting a hard battle against COVID-19 domestically, China was actively involved in the international fight against COVID-19 with other countries including Tonga, contributing its share to upholding global public health security.
President Xi stated that China will continue to share our epidemic control practices as well as diagnostics and therapeutics with other countries, provide support and assistance to countries in need, ensure stable global anti-epidemic supply chains, and actively participate in the global research on tracing the source and transmission routes of the virus. At the moment, several COVID-19 vaccines developed by China are in Phase III clinical trials. When their development is completed and they are available for use, these vaccines will be made a global public good, and they will be provided to other developing countries including Tonga on a priority basis. China believes that as long as all the countries put people and life first and enhance solidarity and cooperation, the virus will be defeated and humanity will prevail.
Third, China will shoulder its responsibility and protection the common homeland for mankind. Faced with the risks and challenges to the environment worldwide, countries share a common stake as passengers in the same boat and form a community with a shared future. Unilateralism finds no support; cooperation is the right way forward. As Prime Minister Tu’i’onetoa stated during the general debate of the UNGA, small island developing states, including Tonga, contribute to no more than one percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, yet it is unfortunate that these countries continue to bear the brunt of this climate injustice.
China fully understands the position and shares the concerns of Pacific island countries on climate change. President Xi stressed in particular that developed and developing countries have different historical responsibilities and practical capabilities for addressing environmental issues. We need to uphold the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities, ensure fair and equitable sharing of benefits, and accommodate developing countries’ concerns over funding, technology and capacity building. We need to earnestly fulfill our commitments, focus on our targets, and effectively reverse biodiversity loss so as to protect the planet we call home. For this purpose, China promised to make extraordinary efforts to scale up its nationally determined contributions, adopt even more forceful policies and measures and strive to peak carbon dioxide emissions before 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality before 2060, thus making greater efforts and contributions toward meeting the objectives of the Paris Agreement.
Fourth, China is determined to protect rights and interests of women and build a world with gender equality and harmonious development. Women are creators of human civilization and drivers of social progress, and they have made extraordinary achievements across all fields of endeavor. In the ongoing fight against COVID-19, female medical and epidemic control workers, researchers, community workers and volunteers over the world, braving danger and working around the clock, have fought at the front line of the battle. With their dedication and ingenuity, they have written heroic epics of saving people and protecting lives. I’m delighted to notice that some Tongan women associations including the Green Fingers are also actively encouraging more and more Tongan women to devote themselves into agricultural production and make contributions to COVID-19 response and food security.
As important goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the importance of gender equality and women’s empowerment cannot be over stated. Equality between men and women is a basic state policy in China. We have put in place a legal system comprising over 100 laws and regulations for fully protecting women’s rights and interests. As a matter of fact, China is recognized by the World Health Organization as one of the ten fast-track countries in women’s and children’s health. In China, the gender gap in compulsory education has been largely closed. Women account for over 40 percent of the country’s workforce, and more than half of China’s Internet start-up businesses are set up by women. In order to further support the global cause of gender equality and women’s development, China promises to donate another $US10 million to UN Women, continue to fund the UNESCO Prize for Girls’ and Women’s Education, and proposes the convening in 2025 of another Global Leaders’ Meeting on Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment.
China’s economic development
President Xi emphasized that China is the largest developing country in the world, a country that is committed to peaceful, open, cooperative and common development. We will never seek hegemony, expansion, or sphere of influence. We have no intention to fight either a Cold War or a hot war with any country. We will continue to narrow differences and resolve disputes with others through dialogue and negotiation. We do not seek to develop only ourselves or engage in a zero-sum game. We will not pursue development behind closed doors. Rather, we aim to foster, over time, a new development paradigm with domestic circulation as the mainstay and domestic and international circulations reinforcing each other. This will create more space for China’s economic development and add impetus to global economic recovery and growth.
China stands ready to work with all countries including Tonga, to uphold the values of peace, development, equity, justice, democracy, freedom and solidarity shared by all of us, to uphold multilateralism and UN-centered international system, and to build a new type of international relations and a community with a shared future for mankind. Together, we can make the world a better place for everyone.