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Xi's upcoming attendance at UN meetings illustrates China's commitment to multilateralism
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Xi's upcoming attendance at UN meetings illustrates China's commitment to multilateralism

Chinese President Xi Jinping will attend high-level meetings of the United Nations via videoconference next week to join world leaders in tackling global challenges.

This year marks the 75th anniversary of the founding of the 193-nation body, growing from 51 signatories including China at the end of the Second World War. Today the world is at another juncture in human history, and efforts must be doubled to "save succeeding generations" as is enshrined in the UN Charter.

Multilateralism in jeopardy

The UN Charter "brought rules and hope to a world in ruins," said UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres while commemorating the organization's birth. It was signed at a time when world leaders felt a strong need for a mechanism that would help bring peace and stop future wars, which was possible only if all nations worked together through a global organization.

However, after decades of globalization and integration, the world is facing widening fragmentation in response to salient risks and challenges, due to the return of unilateralism, protectionism, treaty withdrawals and military and economic bullying practices.

The unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic, which has brought almost 1 million deaths worldwide and paralyzed the global economy, is a reminder of a world in similar chaos in 1945.

"In 1945, the most destructive war in human history had just ended with a general recognition that humanity can never again allow such unmitigated devastation to be unleashed by national conflict and conquest, and that only a multinational body could provide that hope, if not that guarantee," said Robert Lawrence Kuhn, chairman of the Kuhn Foundation based in Los Angeles and New York.

"There are always differences among nations. The high road is figuring out how to develop collective opportunities while controlling potential conflict by constant contact," he said.

Warning about the dangers in international relations in the era of instant global communications and inflamed social media, Kuhn suggested that global geopolitics need both multinational organizations and strong bilateral relations among nations.

"The UN cannot be the whole answer, but it is certainly part of the answer," he said.

Global awareness

As a founding member of the UN and a permanent member of the Security Council, China has honored its commitments to the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, and has been defending the UN in responding to global threats and in pursuit of peace and development.

In its position paper on the 75th anniversary of the UN, China reaffirmed its commitments to safeguarding the UN-centered global governance system, the basic norms of international relations underpinned by the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, the authority and stature of the UN, and the central role of the UN in international affairs.

China's voice resonates with its partners across the world.

In a meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, European Council President Charles Michel and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen via video link on Monday, Xi reached consensus with the EU leaders on safeguarding multilateralism and jointly addressing global challenges.

Merkel, Michel and von der Leyen said it is imperative for Europe and China to strengthen cooperation, jointly safeguard multilateralism and resist unilateralism and protectionism.

Commenting on the meeting's outcomes, Christine Bierre, editor-in-chief of France's Nouvelle Solidarite magazine and an expert at the Schiller France Institute, said the leaders sent a positive signal on safeguarding world peace, stability and prosperity, fully demonstrating that multilateral cooperation is the trend of the times.

In fulfilling its responsibilities, China always fits its deeds to its words.

Beijing has been actively docking its own development goals and plans with the UN's 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and has achieved remarkable results in areas like poverty alleviation and climate governance.

Moreover, China has also registered an 8,000-strong standby force and a 300-member permanent police squad for UN peacekeeping missions, assisted other developing countries with 180 poverty reduction projects, among other initiatives and measures in support of the UN as Xi announced at the 2015 summit meetings commemorating the organization's 70th anniversary.

"China will shoulder its share of responsibility and continue to play its part in this common endeavor," Xi said at the UN headquarters five years ago.

"We should renew our commitment to the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, build a new type of international relations featuring win-win cooperation, and create a community of shared future for mankind," Xi said.

Hope for the future

"My wish is that there is peace and justice." This is one of the 250,000 voices recorded around the world in the UN global dialogue initiative, launched to gather hope, fear and ideas across the world. It is part of the commemoration events of the 75th session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) with the theme of "The Future We Want, the UN We Need: Reaffirming Our Collective Commitment to Multilateralism."

World leaders are expected to jointly forge solutions for global public health, full equality, climate action, among others, just like 75 years ago when the signatories pledged "to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, which twice in our lifetime has brought untold sorrow to mankind and to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights ... to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom."

Tijjani Muhammad-Bande, president of the 74th UNGA, said Monday that "the most important thing is to continue to underline the importance of collaboration, the multilateral effort."

"This is the way to guarantee not only peace, but also prosperity, which are very important goals of the United Nations from the very beginning," he told Xinhua in an interview.

Just as Xi said in his 2015 speech, goals of peace, development, equity, justice, democracy and freedom "are far from being achieved." But hope lies in the world's collective response.

On the eve of the 21st century, to encourage people around the world to face challenges in the new millennium, former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan urged all countries to stand side by side.

"More than ever before in human history, we share a common destiny. We can master it only if we face it together. And that, my friends, is why we have the United Nations," he said.

XinhuaGu Yetao

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