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The United Nations is the center of the international order

Editor: Li Kun 丨CCTV.com

09-28-2015 15:55 BJT

By Victor Gao, Chairman of China Energy Security Institute, and former English interpreter for Deng Xiaoping

The world leaders, including President Xi Jinping of China, are  gathering at the United Nations headquarters in New York to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the founding of the United Nations. While the Annual General Assembly meetings in the fall of every year in the last 70 years have always been a major international event, this year’s gathering at the United Nations and special events to mark the 70th anniversary have extraordinary historical implications.

Chinese President Xi Jinping addresses at UN Sustainable Development Summit.

Chinese President Xi Jinping addresses at UN Sustainable Development Summit.

When the United Nations was founded in 1945, after defeating German Nazism and Japanese Fascism, the raison d’etre of the United Nations was to save mankind from another world war. While the world today is fundamentally different from the world in 1945, the raison d’etre of the United Nations remains as valid today as in 1945. Despite of its imperfections and inadequacy in many respects, today, we celebrate the achievements of the United Nations, because the organization has achieved the most important mission of avoiding another world war. The world leaders who are  attending the UN summits need to ponder what needs to be done to further strengthen the United Nations to make sure that the UN will continue to success in this most important mission, and that mankind will not suffer the scourge of another world war.

There are some people in the world today who tend to believe that the global leadership is the leadership by the United States. The reality is that, founded upon the victory legacies of the WWII in 1945, the United Nations, today with its 193 member states and its several observer nations, remains the most representative and most authoritative international organization in the world. The post-WWII international order is very much built around the United Nations at the center, with the UN Security Council being vested with the mandate of keeping peace and maintaining order in the world. Therefore, rather than equating global leadership with American leadership, we need to emphasize that the true and effective global leadership in the world today should be the global leadership centered around the United Nations. The United Nations is and should remain as the center of global leadership. Major countries like the United States and China can make great contribution to keeping peace and stability in the world if they operate within the United Nations and the UN Security Council framework, rather than outside this important framework.

In the post-WWII era, especially after many countries in Asia, Africa and elsewhere have achieved national independence, the membership of the United Nations have increased significantly. There have been legitimate wishes and demands as to how to make the United Nations more democratic and more representative for all the member states. One key issue in this regard is whether to enlarge the UN Security Council, especially permanent members of the Security Council with veto powers. While many of these wishes are legitimate and need to be carefully analyzed, it doesn’t seem that the current UN Security Council set-up, with China, France, Russia, UK and US as the five permanent members with veto powers, will be fundamentally changed any time soon.

Therefore, how to promote the reform of the United Nations and the UN Security Council, how to achieve greater democracy while maintaining sufficient efficiency, especially in dealing with threats to world peace and security, and how to make sure that the United Nations and the UN Security Council have effective ways and means to deal with the ever-changing challenges in the world, these need to be discussed and addressed by the world leaders at the UN summits. One major change in the world today is the fast changes in the relations between China and the United States. Both are permanent members of the UN Security Council, and their economies are the two largest economies in the world. Whereas the United States is the most important superpower in the world today, China is fast catching up in many aspects. China is already the largest trading partner with approximately 125 countries in the world, and China’s production in approximately 200 categories, including iron and steel, cement, concrete, chemical fiber, etc. accounts for 50% or more of the global production.

There are people in the world, especially in the United States, who worry if China will challenge the leadership by the United States, or undermine the current international order and will create another world order. If the relations between China and the United States could not be handled properly, mistrust may mount, miscalculations may happen, and frictions and confrontation or even war may break out between China and the United States, with dire consequences for world peace and security. Therefore, it is sincerely hoped that both President Xi Jinping of China and President Obama of the United States would seize the moment of their presence at the United Nations and declare their real intentions to the United Nations and the world at large. China and the United States should enhance mutual trust and confidence, coordinate their global positions on key global issues, and engage each other as partners rather than adversaries on the global stage. This will surely make the world we live in a better and safer place, not only for China and the United States, but for mankind as a whole.

In this regard, the case for China should be easier. China sacrificed tremendously during the WWII and played an indispensible role in defeating Japanese fascism  with other allied countries, including the United States, the United Kingdom and the former Soviet Union. Ever since the People’s Republic regained its seat on behalf of China at the United Nations and the UN Security Council in 1971, China has always looked at the United Nations as the most representative and most legitimate leader of the post-WWII international order. Ever since China started to reform and open up to the outside world at the end of the 1970s, China has made transformation by leaps and bounds and has been fully integrated into the global economic and security order. Therefore, China has no intention or any strategic design to challenge the current international order or recreate the wheel and create another world order. On the contrary, China has always treasured its place in the international order and  worked with all the other countries in the world, including the United States, to make sure that the current international order be protected and preserved.

After concluding his 4-day state visit to the United States, Chinese President Xi Jinping attended the UN Sustainable Development Summit on September 26. While addressing the summit, Xi said that China is committed to preserving the leading role of the United Nations in the world today, and that China will perform its international obligations, including in keeping peace and order in the world, by working through, rather than by challenging, the United Nations and the UN Security Council. China is and will remain a fierce defender of the leading role of the United Nations and the UN Security Council in the international order, now and in the future.

In this regard, even though the case for the United States may be more difficult to make, President Obama will also need to address these issues and make the US position regarding the United Nations and the UN Security Council known to the world. After all, the United States remains the most important country in the world in many key aspects and has a major responsibility in keeping peace and stability in the world through the framework of the United Nations and the UN Security Council.

So long as China and the United States along with other UN member states  will rededicate and recommit themselves to letters and spirit of the United Nations, the relations between China and the United States could be better managed, and the world we live in will continue to benefit from peace and stability, and mankind will no longer be plagued by another world war.

 

( The opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Panview or CCTV.com. )

 

 

Panview offers a new window of understanding the world as well as China through the views, opinions, and analysis of experts. We also welcome outside submissions, so feel free to send in your own editorials to "globalopinion@vip.cntv.cn" for consideration.

Panview offers an alternative angle on China and the rest of the world through the analyses and opinions of experts. We also welcome outside submissions, so feel free to send in your own editorials to "globalopinion@vip.cntv.cn" for consideration.


 

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