Restoration of China's lawful UN seat a global milestone: UN official

Updated: October 20, 2021 Source:
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The 50th anniversary of the restoration of China's lawful seat in the United Nations marks a very important milestone, not just for China, but for the entire world, Siddharth Chatterjee, the UN Development System Resident Coordinator in China, has said, as the anniversary approaches.

"I congratulate and commend China on the successes of the last 50 years," Chatterjee said in a recent interview with Xinhua, hailing China's role "as a member of the multilateral system, as a prime mover in the United Nations space."

On Oct. 25, 1971, at its 26th session, the UN General Assembly adopted Resolution 2758 with an overwhelming majority. It decided to restore all lawful rights of the People's Republic of China in the UN and recognize the representatives of its government as the only legitimate UN representatives of China.

Looking back on this history, Chatterjee said that, when the UN established its first formal presence in China, providing aid, knowledge and poverty alleviation experience, etc., China embraced it all.

"And look at where it is today. It is now becoming an aid provider to many other countries in the world. And this is precisely the model that we want to see in the rest of the world, where the world is united by the virtue of compassion, mutual reinforcement and trust, and above all, by keeping alive the principles of multilateralism," Chatterjee said.

With more than 25 years of experience in international cooperation, sustainable development, humanitarian coordination, and peace and security, the coordinator spoke highly of China's achievements in poverty alleviation and public-health response in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"The success China has cannot be underestimated under any circumstance," Chatterjee said, adding that the World Bank has said that in the last 25 years, China's push to lift people out of poverty has had a major impact on the Sustainable Development Goal 1 (SDG 1), which is about ending poverty.

Noting that China has lifted 770 million people out of abject poverty in the last four decades, Chatterjee said that "it is knowledge which we, as the United Nations system, intend to share with the rest of the developing world, that it's possible to do it."

From his perspective, China has done well in dealing with multiple human development issues and issues around dignity, including access to education, health, etc. In the 14th Five-Year Plan period, China aims to reduce inequalities, making sure that the entire social fabric is well knit toward the sustainable development goals.

In a statement delivered via video at the general debate of the 76th session of the United Nations General Assembly in September, Chinese President Xi Jinping proposed a Global Development Initiative to steer development around the world towards more balanced, coordinated and inclusive growth in the face of the severe shocks of COVID-19.

Talking about the spirit of multilateralism, Chatterjee said that a quote from Xi says it all: "By setting sail together, we could ride the wind, break the waves, and brave the journey of ten thousand miles."

"I welcome this initiative of President Xi Jinping in advancing the global development, in which the United Nations system stands strong and solid, and intends to walk this journey with China to make sure that we achieved the SDGs," Chatterjee said.

Chatterjee said that he is a runner, spending most weekends running half marathons, and he has found that the air quality is excellent in China.

In any country that has a rapid development trajectory, there will be an unavoidable impact on nature, Chatterjee said. However, China has set a great standard for what can be achieved, and it is precisely the resolve and the leadership that is needed from China in response to climate change, he said, stressing the role that the Belt and Road is supposed to play in the transition towards the green economy.

Calling China a provider of renewable energy resources and a driver of green development, Chatterjee said China's ambition to peak carbon emissions before 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality before 2060 brings both challenges and opportunities. But through the convergence of big data, technology and innovation, it is not impossible to achieve the goals.

"To me, China's leadership here is going to be absolutely crucial in advancing towards this particular agenda," Chatterjee said.

This year is significant, he said, as it is the 50th year of China's return to its lawful seat and also the centenary of the establishment of the Communist Party of China, with the added significance that in the next nine years, the UN has to speed up moving towards achieving the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

"We, as the UN family, see this as an important point for us, to make sure that we are in lockstep with China's ambition to the 2030 agenda, but at the same time, working with China to share its best practices with the rest of the developing world," Chatterjee said. 

Editor: Jiang Feifan