BEIJING: China on Tuesday called for a “package solution” accommodating “concerns and interests” of all parties to reform the UN Security Council after India along with other G4 nations offered to initially forgo veto powers to secure a permanent seat on the world body’s top organ.
In a guarded reaction to the G4 countries’ offer, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said China supports UN Security Council (UNSC) reform and maintains that developing countries should have more representation and voice.
“Security Council reform concerns issues like membership categories, regional representation, veto power,” Hua said in a written response to PTI.
She was responding to a question related to a joint statement delivered by India’s Permanent Representative to the UN Syed Akbaruddin on March 7 at an inter-governmental negotiations meeting of the G4 nations — India, Brazil, Germany and Japan.
These issues “can only be addressed by reaching a package solution that accommodates all parties’ interests and concerns through broad-based democratic consultations,” Hua said.
Pakistan, a close ally of China, opposes any additional permanent members. Italy/Pakistan-led Uniting for Consensus (UfC) group has proposed a new category of members — not permanent — with longer duration and a possibility to get re-elected once.
China is part of the veto-wielding permanent five members which also include the US, Russia, France and the UK.
On March 7, the G4 members in a bid to get the UN reform process moving said they were open to innovative ideas and willing to forgo veto power as permanent members of a reformed Security Council until a decision on it has been taken.
The G4 joint statement emphasised that an overwhelming majority of the UN member states supports the expansion of both permanent and non-permanent membership in a reformed Security Council.
As India pushed hard for the reform of the UNSC in the last few years staking its claim for the permanent membership, China struck an ambivalent stand saying that it understands New Delhi’s aspiration to play a bigger role in the UN.
Other four permanent members — the UK, the US, France and Russia — backed India’s quest to become a permanent member.
On the issue of the veto, Akbaruddin said the question of veto has been addressed by many from differing perspectives but the G4 approach is that the problem of veto is not one of quantity (of extending it immediately to new permanent members) but of quality — of introducing restrictions.
The bloc had warned that the issue of veto was important but member states should not allow it to have a “veto over the process of Council reform itself.”
While the new permanent members would in principle have veto powers that the current five have, Akbaruddin had said, “they shall not exercise the veto until a decision on the matter has been taken during a review”.