OPINIONS The world needs a strong United Nations more than ever


The world needs a strong United Nations more than ever

By Zhang Jun | People's Daily app

22:17, September 16, 2020

UN headquarters.jpg

Photo taken on Sept. 14, 2020 shows the United Nations (UN) flag flying outside the UN headquarters in New York, the United States. (File photo: Xinhua/Wang Ying)

The United Nations will celebrate its 75th anniversary in September this year. Commemorative activities will attract much attention against the backdrop of great changes that the world has not seen in a century.

There will be expectations, thoughts and worries. The sudden outbreak of COVID-19 has had an impact on the work of the United Nations. A series of high-level meetings on the 75th anniversary of the United Nations will be held by video and will be attended by leaders from more than 170 countries.

This is the most unusual thing about the UN General Assembly this year, and it will also set a new record for leaders to attend the meetings.

Over the past 75 years, the United Nations has had lots of ups and downs along its growth, with no lack of twists and turns. However, it must be recognized that the role of the United Nations is irreplaceable. 

New world wars have been avoided; many local conflicts have been brought under control; more than a billion people have been successfully lifted out of poverty, and considerable progress has been made in the cause of global human rights. It can be said that the United Nations bears the ardent expectations of the people of all countries for peace and development.

Today, the United Nations has been at a crossroads. COVID-19 has posed great challenges to mankind, changed people's way of life, and had an all-round impact on the development of economic and social fields. 

What is even more unfortunate is that the US has engaged in acts of unilateralism, protectionism, and bullying in the international arena, spreading a "political virus" everywhere, seriously undermining the international order, poisoning the international environment, eroding multilateral cooperation, and dragging down global anti-epidemic efforts. This casts a shadow over the 75th birthday of the United Nations.

In the face of great changes not seen in a century and the most serious pandemic in a century, we need a strong United Nations more than ever. According to a United Nations poll, 90 percent of respondents believe that international cooperation is essential to address global challenges such as the pandemic, while 74 percent of respondents say the role of the United Nations is crucial. 

Unity, cooperation and win-win, rather than splittism, confrontation and zero-sum, are the aspirations of the people, the trend of history, and an urgent task in front of the United Nations.

It is more urgent and important to defend multilateralism. Multilateralism is the common choice of mankind after disasters, an important guarantee for all countries to enjoy peace and development, and the concentrated embodiment of the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations. 

Today, America's unbridled unilateralism is like an ant nest on a dam, eroding the foundations of international multilateral institutions. Members of the United Nations have no choice but to redouble their efforts to strengthen the core role of the United Nations and firmly move towards the right direction of multilateralism.

It is more urgent and important to maintain fairness and justice. Fairness and justice are the values of the United Nations and the legal and moral basis for the equality of the 193 member states. To maintain fairness and justice, member states need to discuss matters together, and all abide by the rules laid down. 

The belief in exceptionalism and egotism will lead nowhere, but only harm the common interests of all countries. Under the current situation, the international order based on international law must be firmly maintained, and power politics must not be allowed.

It is more urgent and important to seek a win-win cooperation. People of all countries have the right to a good life, especially in developing countries. Those hindering the economic development of other countries and undermining market principles will not only hurt others, but also do no good to themselves. 

No country can be great in isolation; what the world needs is open development and a win-win cooperation. The United Nations should make the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development a priority, and focus on helping developing countries mitigate the impact of COVID-19 and advance poverty reduction.

It is more urgent and important to take effective actions. Unity and cooperation serve as the most powerful weapon to combat the virus. In the face of global challenges such as the public health crisis, climate change, cyber security, terrorism and transnational crime, the United Nations must take effective actions

All countries must enhance trust, coordinate actions, strengthen the core position of the United Nations, and oppose acts of benefiting oneself at the expense of others.

China is a staunch supporter of the United Nations. At a critical moment of tumultuous change in the world, Chinese President Xi Jinping has been invited to attend high-level meetings to mark the 75th anniversary of the UN via video link and will deliver an important speech.

China looks forward to working with other countries to build a strong United Nations and promote the building of a community with a shared future for mankind.

The writer is the Permanent Representative of China to the United Nations.

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