UN General Assembly mired in fiercest confrontations in history, urged not to become US' tool
China to stress true multilateralism, equal consultation at UN General Assembly
Published: Sep 19, 2022 09:15 PM
The 77th session of the United Nations (UN) General Assembly kicks off on September 13, 2022, at the UN Headquarters in New York. Various topics will be discussed during the general assembly including preventing famine, eliminating nuclear weapons and how to end the COVID-19 pandemic. Photo: VCG

The 77th session of the United Nations (UN) General Assembly kicks off on September 13, 2022, at the UN Headquarters in New York. Various topics will be discussed during the general assembly including preventing famine, eliminating nuclear weapons and how to end the COVID-19 pandemic. Photo: VCG

World leaders and government representatives will for the first time in two years convene in person this week at the UN General Assembly, at a time when the world is beset by many challenges including geopolitical conflicts, economic instability, extreme weather events and food insecurity. Chinese observers said the fiercest confrontations pose a great challenge, and called on the General Assembly to be a platform where all members can communicate on an equal footing and mutual understanding, rather than a tool for one party to pressure others, in order to produce hope for UN reform as well as solutions to issues like the Russia-Ukraine conflict. 

The high-level debate of the 77th Session of the UN General Assembly is expected to kick off on Tuesday, and the Chinese Foreign Ministry announced that State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi will attend the General Debate of the 77th session of the UN General Assembly. 

On the margins of the General Debate, Wang will host a ministerial meeting of the Group of Friends of the Global Development Initiative, attend the meeting of the BRICS Ministers of Foreign Affairs/International Relations and the dialogue of foreign ministers of China and the Quartet of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, hold a group meeting with the foreign ministers of the Troika of the Gulf Cooperation Council, and have bilateral meetings with the UN Secretary-General, the President of the 77th session of the General Assembly and the heads of delegation or foreign ministers of some countries, the ministry said. 

Chinese observers said that UN members have never been more divided at this year's General Assembly, and what the world needs most is a return to true multilateralism and solutions to acute challenges based on equal consultation.

According to AP, US President Joe Biden's speech will be postponed to Wednesday after he attends Queen Elizabeth II's funeral, and the world is also keeping a close eye on the speech of representatives from countries including Russia, Ukraine and UK.  

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy will submit a prerecorded speech at Wednesday's session, and TASS reported that Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov will address a session of the UN General Assembly and is also planning to hold around 20 bilateral meetings on its sidelines.

Yang Xiyu, a senior research fellow at the China Institute of International Studies, told the Global Times on Monday that this year's UN General Assembly faces many complicated and sensitive challenges, and differences in ways to address these challenges are greater than ever. 

"The greatest challenge facing the UN today lies in the fact that it faces its deepest divisions in 70 years, and the fiercest contradiction ever among member states," Yang said.

He said the most critical thing for the UN is not how to solve a specific issue, but how to return to true multilateralism, noting that forging cooperation based on true multilateralism is the way out for many problems.

However, some countries like the US will definitely seek every opportunity to carry out its political agenda of trying to manipulate the UN platform to marginalize and smear Russia over the Russia-Ukraine conflict, a Beijing-based foreign affairs expert told the Global Times on condition of anonymity. 

The US Department of State urged the UN to "hold Russia accountable for launching an illegal war against Ukraine and to condemn its ongoing efforts to erase Ukrainian identity," while elaborating on the US' key policy priorities for the General Assembly. 

But the US' tricks will not get a positive response from the majority of countries, as many countries have seen through the US' destructive role in the Russia-Ukraine conflict as well as its terrible record over the past 30 years in creating strife, turmoil and conflict in international affairs, the expert said. 

One of the priorities for the US is UN reform, and the AFP said the US has been "exasperated by Russia's veto power" as it seeks to "hold Moscow to account for its invasion of Ukraine."

Yang said the UN must be reformed as it has become increasingly unsuitable to the 21st century international situation and the needs of international development, and the US, which has been dominant in the forming of the structure, has increasingly found that it can no longer control the organization as more developing countries join. 

As a result, the US will seek to maintain its dominance in the UN through its reform plan, but its plan will never succeed since the development direction of the world in the 21st century is focused on equal sovereignty, Yang said. 

The US attempted to turn the UN General Assembly into a big anti-Russia alliance, and the UN General Assembly will lose its true meaning if it is turned into a tool for the US, analysts warned. 

Yang said this year's UN General Assembly is a touchstone, and UN reform and this year's UN General Assembly will walk into a dead end if it becomes a tool and battleground for arguments and attacks, and only when members calmly listen to each other and communicate based on mutual understanding can there be hope for UN reform and solutions to various challenges. 

The Beijing-based foreign affairs expert said that the leading role of the UN in resolving global challenges must be stressed, and the role of the UN in security, economy, health and other major issues can only be strengthened, not weakened, and this is the most effective way to break the conspiracy of the US in building alliances and dividing the world.