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China opposes any timetable for UN reform
Updated: 2005-04-07 09:58

China supports reforms of the Security Council, but objects to setting a timetable for the process as proposed by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, Chinese Ambassador to the United Nations Wang Guangya said on Wednesday.

Wang made the remarks while addressing the 191-nation General Assembly, which was meeting to discuss the report presented by Annan in late March on reforming the United Nations.

Wang said that the priority of the Security Council reforms should be given to increasing the representation of the developingcountries in the council.

"As the expansion of the Council involves the vital interests of all concerned, controversy surrounding the issue is therefore expected," he noted, adding that the interests and concerns of allregional groups and each country should be taken into account in the negotiations on the matter.

"In the long-term interest of the United Nations as a whole, China is not in favor of setting an artificial time limit for Council reform and still less of forcing through any immature proposals lacking consensus in the form of a vote," he stressed.

Wang said the consensus-seeking process should be characterizedby democratic, in-depth discussions, patient consultations and a deliberate, orderly procedure.

"Only a blueprint resulting from consensus can truly help strengthen the Security Council's authority and effectiveness and win broad trust and support from the general membership," he said.

He said discussions should not be confined to the two council expansion models contained in Annan's report and China is open to all proposals as long as they are conducive to overcoming divergence and maintaining unity among the member states.

Meanwhile, he warned that a hasty vote on immature proposals before September could jeopardize consultations on reforms of other areas and affect the drafting of the final document of the UN summit.

"Security Council reform is only one part of the reform processof the United Nations and should not be allowed to eclipse equallyimportant reform in other areas," he said. "We do not wish to see debate and controversy surrounding Council reform marginalize or even jeopardize consultations on other issues, particularly those concerning development."

"We should especially guard against the possibility of such controversy causing a major rift among UN members, with the unfortunate consequence of compromising the drafting and consideration of the final document of the forthcoming summit."

In his report, Annan called for a decision by the General Assembly on the expansion of the 15-nation Security Council beforeworld leaders gather in New York in September for a UN summit.

He also expressed veiled support for a vote on the matter by the assembly if no consensus could be reached after "healthy discussions."

The report offered two models for the council's enlargement. Model A would increase the permanent council members from the present five to 11, but the six new permanent members would not have the power of veto. Model B would create a new layer of eight so-called semi-permanent members, which would have four-year renewable terms.

Model A has been supported by Brazil, Germany, Japan and India,the four front-runners in the competition for new permanent seats on the Security Council. The four are planning to force through a resolution in the General Assembly by the summer, which would endorse Model A.

But Model A has been strongly opposed by Mexico, Italy, Pakistan and dozens of other countries, which favor Model B.

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