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China strives to bring UN reforms 'on track'
Updated: 2005-06-11 10:03

Amid heated debates about United Nations reforms, China has made it clear that while fully supporting the process, it sternly opposes any "immature" plans that could divide the UN.

Liu Jianchao, China's foreign ministry spokesman, said June 9 in Beijing that China firmly opposes the UNSC reform plan circulated by the G-4 countries and called for a broad consensus on the reform. [fmprc.gov.cn]

To give a full explanation of its stance, China, one of the five UN Security Council permanent members, first issued a position paper on Tuesday detailing its stance on UN reforms.

According to the paper the reform should put more emphasis on multilateralism and developing countries' needs.

The paper came a few days after China's UN Ambassador Wang Guangya told media that China objects to putting the G-4 resolution to a vote.

Germany, Japan, Brazil and India, known as the Group of Four or G-4, circulated a draft resolution recently proposing to give the four countries permanent seats in the Security Council along with two African countries.

The G-4 is also asking other UN member states to become co-sponsors of the draft and has indicated they will put it to a vote by the UN General Assembly in June.

"China is worried by and firmly opposes such actions," China's Foreign Ministry Spokesman Liu Jianchao said on Thursday when asked to comment on the proposal.

In response to the pressure, China's position paper clarified its particular stance on the debate.

The paper called for increased representation of developing countries, which account for more than two-thirds of the UN members. China holds that countries, small and medium-sized ones in particular, should be given more opportunities to enter the council on a rotating basis.

The paper also suggested that all the regional groups, first of all, reach agreement on reform proposals concerning their respective regions.

"In East Asia, Japan failed to win trust from neighboring countries owing to its attitude towards history. So if Japan wants to play a bigger role in the UN, consensus should be first reached in the region," said Chen Xiangyang, an expert with China Institute of Contemporary International Relations.

Meanwhile, Chinese scholars said the G-4's proposal and their aspiration of becoming permanent members of the UN panel have narrowed down the topic of UN reforms.

"The Security Council reform, by any means, is merely a small part of the UN reforms," said Chen.

He said the proposed reforms aim at improving UN's authority and efficiency. "They not only include UN Security Council expansion, but also involve the issues of development, security and poverty alleviation, which are faced by the whole world."

In March, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan told UN member states that he wanted a decision on the UN Security Council expansion before the September summit.

Opponents of the G-4, known as the Uniting for Consensus, favor expanding the Security Council from 15 to 25 members, but oppose creating any new permanent members.

The current UN Security Council has five permanent members with veto power -- the United States, Russia, China, Britain and France-- and 10 non-permanent members elected for two-year terms.

Countries supporting the Uniting for Consensus, including Pakistan, Algeria, Argentina, Canada and Italy, on May 27 circulated a working paper calling for an increase of 10 non-permanent seats on the body.

The two camps have held talks for several times, but no agreement has been reached.

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