Top US, China and Russia diplomats urge global cooperation - (A)


PTI | United Nations | Updated: 08-05-2021 00:38 IST | Created: 08-05-2021 00:38 IST
Top US, China and Russia diplomats urge global cooperation - (A)

The top diplomats from the United States, China and Russia urged strengthened global cooperation on Friday, recognising the need to tackle growing global challenges and an unprecedented pandemic but sparring over their different worldviews and who's to blame for threats to multilateralism.

The high-level UN Security Council meeting marked the first joint appearance, albeit virtually, by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and his rival counterparts, Foreign Ministers Sergey Lavrov of Russia and Wang Yi, of China who chaired the session as this month's council president.

Despite major differences especially on human rights and democracy, all three said they were ready to cooperate with all countries to address international challenges from the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change to ending conflicts and helping people in need.

Blinken said the post-World War II commitment by nations to work together to prevent conflict, alleviate suffering and defend human rights is in “serious jeopardy,” pointing to resurgent nationalism, rising repression and deepening rivalries.

“Now, some question whether multilateral cooperation is still possible,” he told the council. “The United States believes it is not only possible, it is imperative.” Blinken said “no single country -- no matter how powerful -- can address the challenges alone” and that's why the US will work through multilateral institutions to stop COVID-19, tackle the climate crisis, stem the spread and use of nuclear weapons, deliver life-saving humanitarian aid and manage conflicts.

“We will also work with any country on these issues -- including those with whom we have serious differences,” he said. “At the same time, we will continue to push back forcefully when we see countries undermine the international order, pretend that the rules we've all agreed to don't exist, or simply violate them at will.” Blinken called for all countries to meet their commitments under the U.N. Charter, treaties, Security Council resolutions, international humanitarian law, the World Trade Organization and other global organizations.

The US isn't seeking to uphold this “rules-based order to keep other nations down,” he said, pointing out that the international order the United States helped to create and defend “has enabled the rise of some of our fiercest competitors.” Blinken stressed that “human rights and dignity must stay at the core of the international order.” Governments that insist what they do within their own borders is their own business don't have “a blank check to enslave, torture, disappear, ethnically cleanse their people, or violate their human rights in any other way,” he said. This was an apparent reference to China's treatment of the Uighur minority as well as other countries, including Myanmar's actions against Rohingya Muslims.

Blinken also said countries don't respect a founding U.N. principle of equality of all nations when they “purport to redraw the borders of another” country, threaten force to resolve territorial disputes, claim entitlement to a sphere of influence or target another country with disinformation, undermine elections and go after journalists or dissidents. While he didn't name any countries, that appeared aimed especially at China's actions in the South China Sea and Russia's annexation of Crimea from Ukraine, its attempts to interfere in the U.S. presidential election and its arrest of opposition leader Alexei Navalny and journalists.

Referring to former president Donald Trump's “America First'' policy, Blinken said some US actions during that administration “undermined the rules-based order and led others to question whether we are committed to it.'' He asked the world to judge the Biden administration by its actions, citing examples of its global reengagement including on tackling climate change and COVID-19.

The United States will stand with any country “that upholds its commitment to the order we founded together, and which we must defend and revitalize together,'' Blinken said. “That's the great test of the moment. Let's meet it together.'' China's Wang responded saying “indeed, multilateralism is a sure path for all nations to attain enduring peace and sustained development, and this requires all countries, in particular major countries, to work for it.'' “I'm sure all countries would like to see the United States changing course and make a real contribution to practicing multilateralism,'' he said.

Wang and Russia's Lavrov both stressed the importance of maintaining the United Nations as the center of multilateralism, which Blinken did not.

Wang recalled the declaration adopted last September by world leaders commemorating the 75th anniversary of the United Nations that “multilateralism is not an option but a necessity.'' He called the UN “the banner of multilateralism” and said, “We stand ready to work with all parties to bring multilateralism and the U.N. forward ... and jointly build a community with a shared future for mankind.” He said the more complex global issues are, the greater the need for cooperation on the basis of equality among all countries, “not zero-sum games.” “No country should expect others to lose,” the Chinese minister said. “Rather, countries must work together to ensure that all come out as winners to achieve security and prosperity for all.”

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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