Commentary: China shows active leadership as rotating UN Security Council president for April

by Xinhua writer Gu Zhenqiu

UNITED NATIONS, April 30 (Xinhua) — China on Saturday concluded its rotating presidency of the UN Security Council for the month of April, with a majority of UN member states praising the world’s largest developing country for its active role in leading the 15-nation UN body in its efforts to maintain world peace and security.

China, one of the five permanent council members, assumed the council presidency on April 1. Under the month-long Chinese presidency, the Security Council, which is the most powerful UN body, convened 21 open meetings and 23 closed consultations, adopted seven resolutions and three presidential statements, Liu Jieyi, the Chinese permanent representative to the United Nations, told reporters here.

In April, China succeeded in holding three open debates at the Security Council on such issues as terrorism, the Palestine issue and piracy and armed robbery in the Gulf of Guinea in an active response to the concerns of relevant UN member states.

China was widely praised for playing a very constructive role in initiating and successfully convening the three open debates, diplomats told Xinhua here.

The anti-terrorism issue is a major concern in the world today. Currently, international terrorist activities are rampant. Terrorist organizations such as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and Al-Qaida are now better organized, and terrorists move across borders more frequently.

These terrorist groups have a great variety of financing channels and are increasingly using new technologies such as the Internet and social media to spread their extremist ideas and engage in terrorist activities, thus posing a grave threat to international peace and security.

Over recent months, the world has been repeatedly shocked by deadly terrorist attacks, launched in such regions as Europe and Africa, which highlighted the importance of closer international cooperation against terrorism.

Therefore, all eyes are on the United Nations and its Security Council, which, under the UN Charter, has the primary responsibility for maintaining peace and security in the world at large.

Under the Chinese initiative, an open debate was held at the Security Council on April 14 to discuss the issue of countering terrorism, which is seen as a grave threat to the international peace and security.

The debate heard a briefing by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and statements by representatives of more than 70 countries, further strengthening the political will of the international community in fighting terrorism.

Also at the open debate, Liu called for international efforts to update means of response and effectively suppress use of the Internet and social media for terrorism.

“The Internet and social media have now become an important platform for terrorist organizations,” the Chinese ambassador said. “The international community should, in the light of the characteristics of cyberspace, adopt effective measures to resolutely combat the criminal activities of terrorist groups, including posting audio and video materials on the Web to disseminate extremist ideology, raising funds, promoting materials, recruiting for terrorist attacks and planning terrorist activities among all UN member states in their anti-terrorism efforts.”

As a result, it is widely agreed upon that the international community should use political, economic and cultural means in an integrated manner to address both the symptoms and the root causes of terrorism.

The second open council debate is on piracy and armed robbery in the Gulf of Guinea, which was convened on April 25 and jointly organized by China, Senegal and Angola.

The Security Council discussed this issue in 2011 and 2012. However, this problem has been rarely touched upon by the council ever since.

As an important international shipping route and energy base, the Gulf of Guinea is a lifeline for the coastal States of the region. Recent years have seen frequent pirate attacks and armed robbery throughout territorial waters of the Gulf of Guinea. These attacks are characterized by their brutality and links to terrorism organizations, illegal armed groups and criminal gangs.

The open debate came as a result of China’s efforts to attach great importance to concerns of many African countries at the threat of piracy and armed robbery in the Gulf of Guinea. Indeed, China and Africa make up a community of common destiny and interests, sharing will and woe and seeking a win-win outcome.

Tensions between Israelis and Palestinians prompted a third open debate at the Security Council, which took place on April 18 under the Chinese presidency.

The demolition of Palestinian homes and businesses in the West Bank was continuing at an alarming rate and plans for more illegal Jewish settlements in the area cast doubt on Israel’s commitment to a two-State solution, the secretary-general said at the start of a day-long open debate on the Middle East.

“The creation of new facts on the ground through demolitions and settlement-building raises questions about whether Israel’s ultimate goal is in fact to drive Palestinians out of certain parts of the West Bank, thereby undermining any prospect of transition to a viable Palestinian State,” Ban said, pointing out that 20-year-old Palestinians living under occupation had seen no political progress at all during their lifetime.

For more than six months, Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory had been gripped by a surge in deadly violence, triggered by individual attacks perpetrated by Palestinians.

By early April, the number of Palestinian structures demolished had exceeded the entire total of those destroyed in 2015, displacing 840 people. Meanwhile, plans to build more settlements and retroactively legalize construction in almost untraceable steps, together with the declaration of “State land” in March — the first in more than 18 months — signaled that Israel’s strategic settlement enterprise continued to expand on land intended for a future Palestinian State.

By holding an open debate on the Middle East, China plays an active role as the council president for April in leading international efforts to defuse tensions between Israelis and Palestinians. Therefore, the open debate is conducive to helping the two sides out of stalemate.

Apart from these open debates, China also led council members in their collective efforts to promote peace process in such countries as Syria, Yemen and South Sudan. China always urges political solutions to these crises.

At the same time, the Security Council also discussed issues including Cote d’Ivoire, Somalia and Ukraine.

During the month-long council presidency, China sent a clear message to the world that it will play a more active role in multilateral diplomacy in order to promote world peace and development, thus helping the world build a community of shared destiny.

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