UNITED NATIONS — State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi said on Sept 24 that the proper way to remember Nelson Mandela is to promote the spirit of peace, reconciliation, equality and inclusiveness that the late South African leader advocated.
While affirming Mandela’s values are conducive to the cause of the United Nations, Wang cautioned unilateralism and protectionism are on the rise, posing severe challenges to the UN-centered international system.
Speaking at the Nelson Mandela Peace Summit at the UN General Assembly, Wang called on the international community to stand united under the banner of multilateralism, uphold the core role of the UN in international affairs and provide more stable predicability for this turbulent world.
He went on to praise Mandela for his commitment to political negotiations to advance peace and reconciliation in South Africa, saying he set an example for those countries or regions in conflict to realize national reconciliation and reconstruction.
Wang also spoke of Mandela’s advice that eradicating poverty was protecting basic human rights, pointing out that many problems of the world have their root causes in poverty and the sure way out is through development.
“The world needs to address both the symptoms and the root causes of conflicts, implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and help developing countries improve their people’s livelihood, enhance development capacity, thus to provide the basic underpins for the peace to be sustained,” he said.
Meanwhile, the top Chinese diplomat said Mandela was one of the founders of South Africa-China relationship, who made important contribution to China-South Africa and China-Africa relations.
“China and Africa are a community of shared future that pursues win-win cooperation. Unity and cooperation with African countries is an important basis of China’s foreign policy,” Wang said, recalling the success of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation held in Beijing not long ago.
Wang called upon all countries to take Mandela’s centenary as a new starting point and this summit a new opportunity to jointly build a community of a shared future for mankind and a world with lasting peace and universal security.
Earlier at the summit, the UN member states adopted the first resolution of the General Assembly’s 73rd session, “committing to demonstrate mutual respect, tolerance, understanding and reconciliation in relations.”
Earlier on Sept 24, a statue of Nelson Mandela was unveiled at the UN Headquarters by UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres alongside Matamela Cyril Ramaphosa, the president of South Africa, and Maria Fernanda Espinosa Garces, the president of the UN General Assembly.
Gifted by South Africa to the United Nations, the life-size statue shows Mandela with his arms outstretched and bears his warm and broad smile.
Mandela was born in July 1918 and died five years ago due to a respiratory infection. He had been imprisoned for 27 years for fighting apartheid and became the first black president of South Africa.