Updated February 29th, 2024 at 19:47 IST

China Harps Solution Via 'Consultations' for UNSC Reforms as India Slams 'Short-Sightedness'

China parried criticism that it is blocking India’s entry as a permanent member to the United Nations Security Council and harped on the need for the “broadest possible consensus” to work out a “package solution” through serious and thorough consultations.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping. | Image:AP
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China on Thursday parried criticism that it is blocking India’s entry as a permanent member to the United Nations Security Council and harped on the need for the “broadest possible consensus” to work out a “package solution” through serious and thorough consultations. Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi has said the world expects the UN to effectively play a leading role in addressing global challenges and that China supports the steady progress of UNSC reform in the “right direction” with voices from the developing countries.

Wang was speaking during a meeting with Tareq M A M Albanai and Alexander Marschik, co-chairs of the Intergovernmental Negotiations (IGN) on the UNSC Reform of the 78th Session of the UN General Assembly here on Wednesday. His remarks come a week after External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar suggested that the “short-sighted” approach of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council is holding back reforms in the global body and with an oblique reference to China, said, the “biggest” opponent for reform of the UNSC was not a Western country.

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The five permanent members are Russia, the UK, China, France and the US. They can veto any substantive resolution in the UN Security Council, the top organ of the world body. There has been a growing demand to increase the number of permanent members in the Security Council to reflect the contemporary global reality with India, Brazil, South Africa, Germany and Japan being strong contenders.

According to a read-out from the Chinese Foreign Ministry on Thursday, Wang said that China supports the steady progress of UNSC reform in the “right direction”, increasing the representation and voice of developing countries to allow more small and medium-sized countries to participate in decision-making. “China supports that.” It is necessary to put the solidarity and cooperation of the international community in an important position and seek the broadest consensus, Wang said.

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Asked about the criticism that Beijing is blocking the reform of the top UN body, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning said on Thursday, “The reform of the UNSC is an integral part of the overall reform of the UN.” “Upholding solidarity and cooperation of the international community should be a priority and member states need to seek the broadest possible consensus for a package solution through serious and thorough consultations,” Mao told a media briefing here.

The reform should benefit all member states, rather than serving the selfish interests of a few, she said. She, however, did not respond to the criticism that Beijing is blocking the UNSC reforms, especially India’s entry as a permanent member.

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India has been at the forefront of efforts at the United Nations to push for an urgent long-pending reform of the Security Council, emphasising that it rightly deserves a place at the UN high table as a permanent member. When pointed out that it was precisely the criticism that the UN system served the interests of the veto-wielding P5 members, Mao said, “I think the UN is the broadest-based organisation in the world and is, therefore, able to represent all countries.” “You mentioned the Security Council reform. I believe that everyone recognises that there is a need for reform of the Security Council but I don’t think that the Security Council only represents the interests of the permanent members,” she said.

Mao agreed that there’s a need for necessary reform of the Security Council, “so that developing countries and medium and small-sized countries can have more opportunities to take part in the decision-making of the Council.” “As for how the reform should be carried out specifically, this will require serious and full consultation among UN members and accommodation of the concerns of all countries so that all members will benefit from the reform,” she added.

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Published February 29th, 2024 at 19:47 IST