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UN chief calls China pillar of multilateral system

Updated: Apr 6,2018 1:37 PM     Xinhua

UNITED NATIONS — United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said on April 5 that China has been very active in global governance of all forms and a pillar of the multilateral system, ahead of his trip to China to attend the annual Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) conference.

As China has undergone great economic development, its participation in the global governance system has never been more relevant to the economy and development in a global backdrop, Guterres said. The UN welcomes China’s positive contribution as it brings the world equilibrium and harmony, he said.

A major contributor to peacekeeping operations, China is making a very strong commitment, with about 2,400 Chinese engaged in UN missions in 14 countries, Guterres said.

“We see the role of China not only in the direct contribution of peacekeepers, but also in the contribution to the discussions we will have this year on how to improve peacekeeping,” the UN chief said.

Referring to the latest developments in the Korean Peninsula issue, Guterres said China “has an absolute key role” in defusing the crisis. The presence of China can be an absolutely decisive factor for the peaceful denuclearization of the peninsula, since there is a lot of distrust between the United States and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), he said.

It is also important for the DPRK to have an open dialogue with the United States, as China has always recommended, for the denuclearization to occur in a peaceful environment, he said.

About the escalating US-China trade conflict, Guterres said trade wars are always bad for those involved and for the international economy as a whole. “We need to have international cooperation,” he emphasized.

He said wherever there is a problem, there must be dialogue and serious discussion to overcome the problem. “I am a strong believer in multilateralism ... to address global problems ... Global problems need to have global answers, and global answers can only be implemented through multilateral frameworks,” he said.

The international framework that governs global trade is of extreme importance with the World Trade Organization at its center, he said.

“Free trade is a very important contributor to global prosperity,” he said.

Globalization has brought enormous benefits — increasing economic growth and trade, reducing absolute poverty and realizing a broader middle class everywhere. But it has also seen inequalities.

“We need to make an effort to improve things, not denying globalization but improving it,” the UN chief said.

“I am very happy that China has been totally committed to ... Agenda 2030 not only at the Chinese level but also in cooperation with other countries, especially the developing world,” he said.

The UN Sustainable Development Goals, also known as the Agenda 2030, are a collection of 17 targets aimed at addressing human rights, climate change and environmental issues.

China plays a very important role in the Agenda 2030 and in South-South cooperation, Guterres said. He called the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative a very good example of South-South cooperation.

Concerning China’s 40 years of opening-up and reform, Guterres, whose first visit to China was in the 1980s, said he has seen a big change. The reforms have allowed China to play an international role, which it could not have played as a closed economy.

The BFA, he said, has been expanding in scale and influence since its establishment 17 years ago. It has played a unique role in building consensus, deepening regional cooperation, boosting common development, and resolving Asian and global problems.

The BFA conference will be held in Boao in China’s southern island province of Hainan from April 8 to 11. The theme is “An Open and Innovative Asia for a World of Greater Prosperity.”

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