November 3, 2023
BEIJING – Zhang Jun, China’s permanent representative to the United Nations, introduces the work priorities of the country as the rotating president of the UN Security Council for November at a news conference at the UN headquarters in New York on Wednesday. WANG FAN / CHINA NEWS SERVICE
China assumed on Wednesday the rotating presidency of the United Nations Security Council for November with a focus on the Palestine-Israel conflict.
The Palestine-Israel situation tops the Security Council’s agenda this month, said Zhang Jun, China’s permanent representative to the UN.
“It is imperative to push for a cease-fire and halt the fighting, prevent further civilian casualties, prevent a larger-scale humanitarian disaster and prevent the conflict from spilling over,” he told reporters at a news briefing on the work of China’s presidency.
The presidency of the Security Council rotates among its 15 members monthly. China last held the rotating presidency in August 2022.
The presidency for November comes amid the criticism the Security Council is facing for its perceived slow response to the ongoing Palestine-Israel conflict.
As of Thursday, the number of Palestinian casualties in the Gaza Strip had passed 9,000, according to the Hamas-run Health Ministry in Gaza. More than 1,400 people in Israel have lost their lives so far, most of them killed in the Oct 7 Hamas attack, Israeli authorities said.
“As the rotating president of the Security Council, China will respond to the calls of the international community and work with all parties concerned to promote responsible and meaningful collective action by the council in a timely manner,” Zhang said.
He emphasized that based on the current situation and tasks facing the Security Council and the expectations of all parties, China will “push the Security Council to take action, fulfill its responsibilities under the UN Charter, demonstrate its commitment, promote the easing of tensions and support diplomatic efforts”.
“We will urge the Security Council to focus on the root causes, look at the complex problem of the intertwining of the development deficit and the security deficit, and explore ways to solve it from a broader perspective,” Zhang said.
“We will also push the Security Council to improve its working methods, strengthen unity and cooperation, enhance its authority and efficiency, and respond more effectively to the current complex situation,” he added.
The Security Council will also consider issues related to Syria, Yemen and Bosnia-Herzegovina this month, according to Zhang. It will take action on the UN assistance mission in Sudan, the UN mission in the Central African Republic and the extension of the authorization of sanctions on Somalia, as well as hold its annual regular dialogue with the commissioner of UN peacekeeping police, he said.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said on Thursday that China has always been a builder of world peace, a contributor to global development and a defender of the international order.
“China will firmly uphold the international system with the UN at its core, the international order underpinned by international law, and the basic norms governing international relations based on the purposes and the principles of the UN Charter,” he said at a regular news conference.