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China’s President Xi Appeals for New Global Development Initiative in Address to UN General Assembly

Sept. 21, 2021 (EIRNS)—The speech by President Xi Jinping of China to the UN General Assembly today stood in stark contrast to that of U.S. President Joe Biden. President Biden’s speech came at the beginning of the first session of the assembly, and President Xi at the end. But in contrast to the more strident tones of the U.S. President, hidden behind conciliatory rhetoric, President Xi calmly provided a message of hope and clarity, setting a path forward for the members out of the complex predicament facing mankind today involving “changes unseen in a century.”

He remarked that at the 75th anniversary celebration of the creation of the United Nations Organization last year, there had been a commitment by countries to come together and “work for the common future of present and coming generations.” But, alas, “One year on, our world is facing the combined impacts of changes unseen in a century and the COVID-19 pandemic. In all countries, people long for peace and development more than ever before, their call for equity and justice is growing stronger, and they are more determined in pursuing win-win cooperation.”

President Xi made a strong plea for taking up the fight against COVID and basing the fight on a scientific outlook. He referred to vaccination as “a powerful weapon” in that fight and stressed China’s commitment to assuring an equitable distribution of vaccines. President Xi reiterated that China would distribute 2 billion doses of the vaccine by the end of the year.

Most significantly, he also called for a new global development initiative and for fostering global development partnerships. “Development holds the key to people’s well-being,” Xi declared. “Facing the severe shocks of COVID-19, we need to work together to steer global development toward a new stage of balanced, coordinated and inclusive growth. To this end, I would like to propose a Global Development Initiative.”

It would include: putting development as a priority; staying committed to a people-centered approach; staying committed to benefits for all; staying committed to innovation-driven development; and staying committed to harmony between man and nature.

On climate change as such, President Xi expressed China’s stated position, that it will peak in its CO2 emissions by 2030, and become carbon neutral by 2060. Unfortunately, he announced that China will cease funding or building any coal-fired plants abroad.

“We need to seize the historic opportunities created by the latest round of technological revolution and industrial transformation, redouble efforts to harness technological achievements to boost productivity, and foster an open, fair, equitable and non-discriminatory environment for the development of science and technology. We should foster new growth drivers in the post-COVID era and jointly achieve leapfrog development,”

Xi said.

President Xi also pointed to the last month’s developments in Afghanistan as an example of the failure of “military solutions” to problems facing the world. “Recent developments in the global situation show once again that military intervention from the outside and so-called democratic transformation entail nothing but harm.” And he insisted again that China would never invade or bully another country and would never seek hegemony—a stark contrast to Biden’s claims that the U.S. and “American values” must lead the world.

President Xi expressed his call for improved global governance and a firm commitment to multilateralism, stating the UN Charter is the basic law which would provide a platform for stability.

“In the world, there is only one international system, i.e., the international system with the United Nations at its core. There is only one international order, i.e., the international order underpinned by international law. And there is only one set of rules, i.e., the basic norms governing international relations underpinned by the purposes and principles of the UN Charter.”

He rejected entirely the attempt to create “small circles” of countries intent on determining policy for the world, and berated the notion of “a zero-sum game.” “One country’s success does not have to mean another country’s failure, and the world is big enough to accommodate common development and progress of all countries,” President Xi said.

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