China: 90% support needed for any UN reform
China opposes setting an artificial timeframe for the Security Council reform and rejects forcing through a reform proposal still lacking broad consensus by means of a vote, Chinese Ambassador to the United Nations Wang Guangya said Wednesday.
Wang made the remarks while addressing the 191-nation General Assembly, which was meeting to discuss the comprehensive report presented by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan in late March on reforming the United Nations.
After reiterating China's principles on UN reform, Wang said the proposals for the Security Council reform are both a focus of intense interest and a cause of deep divisions, and bridging the differences and setting reform on an even course require careful reflections by all sides.
He then put forward six purposes on the Security Council reform.
"First, the profound changes that have taken place in the international balance of power call for an appropriate increase in the membership of the Security Council and improvement of its methods of work," he noted. "This is needed to bring the Council into stage with the times and enhance its ability to counter threats and challenges to international peace and security."
"Council expansion does not constitute the whole of Security Council reform. Reform must not only make the Council more representative but also contribute to its increased authority and efficiency and enhance its accountability and transparency," he added.
"Second, the reform involves huge stakes; it is a sensitive and complex matter that affects the vital interests of all States," Wang said.
"Instead of addressing only the concerns of a small number of countries, the reform should take maximum account of the interestsof all countries and regional groups," he said. "Priority should be given to an increase in the representation of the developing countries in the Council and to afford small and medium-sized countries more opportunities of participating in decision-making in the Council."
He pointed out that only when the interests of all sides are accommodated will reform win general trust and support.
"Third, as long as a reform proposal meets the above-mentioned criteria, China will be open to its consideration," Wang declared.
The report offered two models for the Council's enlargement. However, members are motivated by different considerations and aredeeply divided over the issue.
"Under this circumstance, we believe that the exploration of new alternatives should be contemplated," Wang said, adding "Chinawelcomes any reasonable new options in this regard and believes that common interests should inspire all countries to accommodate each other's concerns, demonstrate flexibility and strive for compromise."
"Fourth, the reform should be characterized by democracy, in-depth consideration, patient consultation and the achievement of the broadest possible consensus," Wang said.
"Consensus certainly does not mean unanimity among all 191 member states," he said.
"On the other hand, when some countries favor one option while others oppose it or support another option, there is evidently no consensus to speak of," he made it clear, stressing that "consensus gives an indicative measure of support; more important, it calls for the search of compromise and common understanding."
"Any reform proposal shy of 90 percent or greater support and endorsement can hardly qualify as a consensus proposal," Wang said.
"Fifth, the reform should proceed with deliberation and be allowed to come to unhurried fruition," he said, admitting it is natural that differences exist over issues of Security Council reform.
"What's important is for all sides to seek common ground through consultation and dialogue," he noted. "Difficulties and major differences of views should not make the reform bogged down or shelved. Imposing any reform proposal on which members are deeply divided is equally unacceptable."
"For this reason, China is opposed to setting an artificial timeframe for reform and rejects forcing through a reform proposalstill lacking broad consensus by means of a vote," he stressed.
At last, Wang suggested the reform of the Security Council serve the long-term interests of the United Nations as a whole.
"More and more countries are now becoming worried by the prospect that debate and controversy over Security Council reform could not only lead to a rift among the member states but also marginalize or even harm the consultations on other important questions, particularly those concerning development," he said.
"Should the United Nations be dragged into divisive fight over the reform of the Security Council, the original purpose of this reform would be totally defeated; such an outcome would neither bode well for the upholding of the authority of the Security Council nor for the reform of the United Nations as a whole," Wang stressed.