By Chen Xu
This year marks the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China (CPC), as well as the 50th anniversary of the restoration of China’s legitimate rights in the UN.
The country is a founding member of the UN, and the first signatory of the UN Charter. On June 26, 1945, the Chinese delegation, including Dong Biwu, a representative of the CPC, took the lead to sign the document. About nine years later, Chinese Premier and Foreign Minister Zhou Enlai led a Chinese delegation to the Geneva Conference, where he demonstrated the foreign policy of peace and a brand new diplomatic style of the People’s Republic of China. Therefore, Geneva is hailed as the birthplace of China’s multilateral diplomacy.
To restore China’s lawful seat in the UN, the country had made unremitted efforts and written an unforgettable chapter in the diplomatic history of the People’s Republic of China. On Oct. 25, 1971, the 26th UN General Assembly adopted the Resolution 2758 with an overwhelming majority of votes, which decided to restore all the lawful rights of the People’s Republic of China in the UN. It was a new page in the UN history, and marked a new phase of the China-UN relationship.
Over the past 50 years, China has actively shared its views and proposals in the UN, making vibrant voices for its diplomacy, and Chinese leaders have also been frequent speakers on UN podiums.
Since 2012, Chinese President Xi Jinping has delivered multiple important speeches on multilateral platforms including the UN, during which he raised a series of new ideas, propositions and initiatives with Chinese characteristics that conformed to international aspiration and the trend of the times, and offered important guidance for carrying forward, practicing and developing multilateralism.
In 2017, he made a historic speech titled Work Together to Build a Community of Shared Future for Mankind at the UN Office in Geneva, which triggered wide and heated response in the international community. Four years later, he once again charted a course for carrying forward and developing multilateralism with the speech titled Let the Torch of Multilateralism Light up Humanity’s Way Forward he delivered at the World Economic Forum Virtual Event of the Davos Agenda.
Over the past 50 years, China has participated in the multilateral affairs of the UN in an all-round manner and demonstrated its major country responsibility. The country has joined almost all universal inter-governmental organizations and signed more than 600 international conventions, which continuously improved its position and expanded its influence in the UN and the international community.
China has faithfully fulfilled its WTO accession commitments and constantly improved its level of opening-up to inject impetus into the economic globalization and global growth. It raised the Belt and Road Initiative, actively promoted South-South Cooperation and North-South dialogue, achieved the poverty alleviation goal set on the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development 10 years ahead of schedule, and effectively consolidated and expanded the results of common development. Besides, the country’s active efforts to expand international cooperation on fighting the COVID-19 pandemic and build a global community of health for all are also vital for the global response to public health crises.
As a diplomatic envoy and one who practices multilateral diplomacy, I have fortunately experienced and witnessed China’s participation in UN affairs.
From the UN Headquarters in New York to the UN Office at Geneva, and from the UN Security Council negotiations to multilateral diplomatic affairs in multiple aspects, including peacekeeping, human rights, global public health, international peace and arm control, science, sports, labor and trade, I’m seeing the historic changes taking place in the China-UN relationship, and having a deeper understanding of the sacred duties and missions of the frontier multilateral diplomacy.
China will actively carry out multilateral diplomacy, steadfastly practice multilateralism, and firmly safeguard its national interests to achieve newer and greater successes.
(Chen Xu is the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, and Permanent Representative of the People’s Republic of China to the UN Office at Geneva and other International Organizations in Switzerland.)