In China today, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon highlighted the country’s relationship with the Organization, noting in particular its crucial role in improving tensions, building peace and promoting the agenda on climate change.
“As a permanent member of the Security Council and a universally recognized global actor, China also plays a pivotal role in helping to ease tensions, build peace and provide life-saving assistance to the world’s troubled spots from the Middle East to Africa and elsewhere,” the Secretary-General said at a joint press conference with Wang Yi, China’s Minister of Foreign Affairs.
Expressing condolences for the loss of life and damage caused by the latest flooding in several provinces in China, Mr. Ban said he hoped that the many displaced people can return to their homes as soon as possible.
“The United Nations will continue to work with China and other countries to build resilience and enhance our preparedness at a time when disasters continue to increase in frequency and magnitude,” the Secretary-General said.
Mr. Ban indicated that he had a “very constructive” meeting with Mr. Wang, with a varied agenda focused on international peace and security, including regional security, and development and other issues.
Noting that cooperation between the UN and China continues to deepen, the Secretary-General said that China, under President Xi Jinping, is demonstrating “path-breaking leadership” on sustainable development and climate change.
“China is demonstrating to the world that low carbon climate resilience development pathway is achievable,” Mr. Ban said, commending the country’s leadership in promoting and accelerating the process of ratification of the Paris Agreement on climate change by the G20 summit.
“And it has significantly accelerated political momentum towards the agreements rapid entry into force,” he added.
The UN chief also highlighted that China’s establishment of a fund for peace and development to support the work of the UN is “extremely generous and encouraging.” In particular, he noted that China has increased its contribution to peacekeeping with support for UN missions in South Sudan, Mali and elsewhere.
Mr. Ban recalled that he visited a helicopter division of the Chinese army this morning, where soldiers and peacekeepers were being trained, adding that he was grateful for their commitment to provide resources and assets to peacekeeping operations.
In addition, the Secretary-General said that he had discussed with Mr. Wang various issues of mutual concern, including the situations in Myanmar, Sudan, South Sudan, Syria and elsewhere.
“But most of all, Mr. Wang and I discussed the situation on the Korean peninsula, which remains a grave concern for the region and the world,” said Mr. Ban, adding that he continues to call for dialogue as “the best path to break the cycle of provocation.”
Noting that the talks also touched on the issues relating to the South China Sea, Mr. Ban said that as Secretary-General, he cannot comment on the arbitration case for which a ruling may be reached shortly.
The Secretary-General said, however, that he had stressed to Mr. Wang, as he has with all other countries involved, the need to resolve their differences in a peaceful manner and to avoid any escalation or misunderstanding that could put security and development in the region at risk. “In almost 10 years as Secretary-General I have the seen the remarkable transformation of China and invaluable contributions that China makes to the work of the United Nations. As China continues along the path of transformation and reform, I encourage China’s leaders to create the space needed for the civil society to play as a crucial role,” Mr. Ban said.
Moreover, the Secretary-General emphasized that environmental activists, human rights lawyers and defenders, government watchdogs and other civil society groups can act as a catalyst for social progress and economic growth.
“They can represent the diverse interests of the population and bring the voices of the vulnerable in from the margins. Along with a free and independent media they can help ensure accountability and thereby helping the state to be more effective and strengthening the standing in the eyes of the people,” Mr. Ban said, adding that the world will look to China to complement its “remarkable economic advances by giving citizens a full say and role in the political life of their country.”
“As a permanent member of the Security Council and a universally recognized global actor, China also plays a pivotal role in helping to ease tensions, build peace and provide life-saving assistance to the world’s troubled spots from the Middle East to Africa and elsewhere,” the Secretary-General added.
Answering a question from a journalist regarding China’s role in a Security Council resolution on the nuclear tests by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), the Secretary-General said that as a permanent member of the Security Council, China has been playing a very important role in maintaining peace and security on the Korean Peninsula, particularly in the wake of the nuclear test and the DPRK’s continuing ballistic missiles tests.
“The United Nations and I, as the Secretary-General, are very much concerned at the rising tensions on the Korean Peninsula. All Security Council resolutions must be fully implemented, and these are the united core of international community to the DPRK to reverse its current course, to return to dialogue and refrain from making further provocations,” Mr. Ban said.
At the same time, he noted that the concerned countries, particularly the Republic of Korea, China, the United States and others, should also step up their efforts to reduce tension and to find a path to resume dialogue for denuclearization and other means to reduce tension in the Korean Peninsula.
“As the Secretary-General of the United Nations, I stand ready always to contribute – in any way, whatever way, at any time – to contribute myself first of all to the resumption of dialogue and reduce tension between South and North Korea and also work together with other concerned parties, including China,” Mr. Ban said.
Also today, the Secretary-General spoke at the tenth anniversary meeting of the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, held this morning in Beijing, where he urged the 28 remaining Member States that have not yet pledged to ratify the Convention to do so without further delay.
“This is a matter of basic human dignity and solidarity,” Mr. Ban stressed. “Human rights, including social, economic, cultural, civil and political rights, are all for people in all countries at all times, without discrimination of any kind.”