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Major significance of China's return to UN 35 years ago, 2006

The author of the article is Wu Jianmin, president of the Foreign Affairs University in Beijing.
October 25, 2006

October 25, 2006

The 26th UN General Assembly adopted Resolution No. 2578 with an overwhelming majority and restored the legal status of the People's Republic of China (PRC) in the United Nations on October 25, 1971. So it is a commemorative day today for China and the world at large. As a staff member of the Chinese Delegation for Restoration of China's seat at the UN then, Wu Jianmin, the current president of the Foreign Affairs University, who had personally experienced the unforgettable historic moment. He cannot but feels excited with myriads of ideas occurring to him at the time of the 35th anniversary of the restoration of China's legitimate seat at the UN,

The adoption of the No. 2758 UN Resolution is by no means accidental, but required by the world's progress and hence it represents an inevitable trend of history. After its establishment in 1949, PRC had been illegally deprived of its legal status at the UN for 22 years, during which profound, in-depth changes had also taken place around the world. In the post-second world war period, the national liberation movement surged ahead with a sweeping force and shaped a mighty historical tide. At the spur of this tide, a large number of Asian nations won their independence and joined the UN. Without the support of those nations acceding to the UN, it was real hard to imagine the restoration of China's legitimate seat at the UN. Taking China's legal status as their own affairs, they stepped forward courageously and spoke out boldly with a sense of justice, to the defiance of power and influence with a straightforward and upright spirit, which epitomizes the world trend heading toward progress.

The United States was then obstinately opposed to the restoration of China's legal status in the United Nations. Ironically, it was precisely the China trip in July 1970 by Dr. Henry Kissinger, who made during his trip the announcement of President Richard Nixon's visit to China in February 1972, which had forcefully promoted the victory for the resumption of the legitimate right of RPC in the UN.

The United Nations needs China and takes a high pride in the nature of its universality. However, what universality can be spoken of if China's legitimate seat is not resumed and the nation is still left outside it. There is indeed an urgent need for the UN to bring its role into play globally as the world is faced with a host of thorny problems. With the absence of a chunk of China, there is apparently the lack of a strong prop in response to major global issues.

China also needs the United Nations. Late Chinese leader Chairman Mao Zedong (1893-1976) said long ago that "the Chinese nation has the ability to stand among the family of nations." Without the resumption of China's legitimate seat at the UN, an international body with the maximum representation, then how can it be said the Chinese people are able to stand among the family of nations?

The policy of reform and opening to the outside world constitutes China's major policy decision made after the passing of Chairman Mao in 1976. However, people cannot but witness the extremely great benefits brought by the restoration of China's UN seat to the country's ensuing reform and opening-up policy. The diplomatic arena of RPC had been narrow and limited for a long period of time, with only 64 countries having forged their diplomatic ties with China prior to Oct. 24, 1971, the eve of restoring China's seat in the UN. Thanks to the adoption of No. 2758 UN Resolution on Oct. 25, 1971, China's diplomatic stage soon extend far and wide globally. To date, the number of those nations that have diplomatic ties with China has reached 169, and more than 100 of them have established their diplomatic relations with it after the restoration of its legal UN seat in 1971. China's opening-up policy is open to the entire world, and its return to the UN has greatly prompted other nations to forge their ties with China, and this paves the way for the nation to implement its subsequent opening-up policy.

The role of the United Nations has kept rising undoubtedly in the post-cold war era. But some people began to question it when the United States launched the Iraq war in 2003 by shunning the UN. Developments in the situation, nevertheless, show that a nation, however powerful, cannot resolve any major global issue alone. Since the start of the Iraq war, the U.S. has been increasingly turned to the UN on a couple of major international issues, which has given the testimony of the point. So coordinated actions of the international community are required to respond to challenges facing the humanity, and such coordinated moves have create essential conditions for settling international disputes appropriately.

In a word, China needs the United Nations, which needs China too.

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