Activities of Secretary-General in China, 18-22 May

28 May 2014

Activities of Secretary-General in China, 18-22 May

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon arrived in Shanghai, China, in the evening of Sunday, 18 May.

He met that night with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang YiThey discussed issues related to peace and security in Asia, including regional cooperation, Myanmar, and the Korean peninsula, as well as maritime concerns.  They also discussed the situations in Syria, Ukraine, South Sudan, Central African Republic and Libya.

On Monday morning, the Secretary-General held talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping.  During their meeting, the Secretary-General expressed his deep gratitude to China for its strong support and contribution to the work of the United Nations to promote peace and security; sustainable development; and human rights.  He also underscored the importance of conflict prevention, taking note of China’s key role in this as the chair of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA).

The Secretary-General then spoke at the Shanghai Institute for International Studies, a think-tank.

In his remarks, he said that this is a time of enormous challenge, pointing to the situations in Syria, Ukraine and Asia, among others.  He said that the United Nations must rise to the moment, noting three related efforts in the next 18 months:  the post-2015 development goals, the period beyond 2015 and climate change.  (See Press Release SG/SM/15850.)

While at the Institute, the Secretary-General, a keen student of calligraphy, also wrote an inscription in Chinese.

In the afternoon, he flew to Beijing, where he met with Wu Xinxiong, the Vice-Chair of the National Development and Reform Commission.

The Secretary-General then held talks with and attended a dinner hosted by Li Keqiang, the Premier of the State Council.

In their meeting, the Secretary-General commended China’s active, growing and crucial role in addressing global challenges, including sustainable development, energy and health.  He also lauded China’s strong leadership on the issue of climate change.

The Secretary-General’s first appointment on Tuesday, 20 May, was a visit to the headquarters of Xinhua News Agency, where he received a tour of the organization’s facilities and met with its president, Li Congjun.

He was also interviewed in Xinhua’s television studio.

The Secretary-General later held talks with Ding Xuedong, Chairman of the China Investment Corporation, the country's sovereign wealth fund.  The Secretary-General then travelled to Shanghai, where he met with Hi Huai Bang, President of the China Development Bank.  Both of those meetings focused on the potential of investment to spur action on climate change and sustainable development.

In Shanghai, the Secretary-General met with President Mamnoon Hussain of Pakistan.  They discussed the security and human rights situation in Pakistan, as well as the country’s relations with Afghanistan.  The Secretary-General also expressed his deep gratitude for the impressive contribution to UN peacekeeping operations of Pakistan.

The Secretary-General then attended the CICA welcome ceremony and dinner, both of which were hosted by President Xi Jinping.  He also attended an arts performance held in honour of the Summit.

The Secretary-General's last meeting of the day was with Russian President Vladimir Putin.  They exchanged views on how to address current challenges to international peace and security, in particular the situations in Ukraine and Syria.  On Ukraine, the Secretary-General and President Putin agreed that the crisis can only be resolved politically and through an inclusive political dialogue.  The Secretary-General also offered condolences for a train accident that day in Russia and wished those injured a speedy recovery.

On Wednesday, 21 May, the Secretary-General addressed the CICA Summit, taking note of Asia’s rise, calling the continent a home of economic dynamism, innovation and potential.  He also pointed out that the region is also the scene of some of the most worrying tensions in the world today, pointing to the situation in Syria and the growth of territorial disputes across the area represented by the organization’s Member States, among others.  He called for the region’s rifts and historical wounds to be healed through cooperation, not conflict, and through common interests, not unilateral action.  (See Press Release SG/SM/15860.)

He met with President Mahinda Rajapaksa, President of Sri Lanka, which whom he discussed the country’s efforts related to reconciliation, political dialogue and the protection of human rights.

In talks with President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan, the Secretary-General welcomed the announcement of the results of the April election, calling this an important process for the country, adding that a successful and peaceful political transition would be a significant accomplishment for the country’s Government.

The Secretary-General then met with President Hassan Rouhani of Iran and they discussed the situation in Syria, as well as negotiations regarding Iran’s nuclear programme.

The Secretary-General’s last meeting of the day was withYang Jiechi, State Councilor of China.  The Secretary-General commended China for the leadership it has displayed at the United Nations, including through its active participation in UN peacekeeping.

The Secretary-General began his final day on his visit to China by addressing faculty and students at Fudan University.

In his address, he exhorted students to play a greater part in addressing global challenges.  He said that he expects China and its Government to continually improve human dignity, telling the students:  “Let us work together to advance human rights — the foundation of global harmony and stability.”  See Press Release SG/SM/15868.

The Secretary-General then visited the Zhou Bin Calligraphy Culture Institute.

He attended the opening of the Shanghai Centre for Maternal and Child Health, noting that by giving women and children access to top quality services, we will provide solid foundations for vibrant societies and a life of dignity for all.

The Secretary-General was interviewed by Chen Wei-hong, host of the programme, “Dialogue", on China Central Television.

His last event before departing China was a lunch for his "Every woman, every child" initiative.  In his remarks, he said that China is one of the few countries to already meet the Millennium Development Goal on child mortality.  As a developing country, China has a major role to play in sharing its many valuable experiences, particularly through South-South collaboration, he said, adding that with its impressive success at home and fast expansion overseas, the Chinese private sector is well-positioned to contribute to sustainable and equitable development.  (See Press Release SG/SM/15869.)

The Secretary-General arrived back in New York on Thursday evening, 22 May.

For information media. Not an official record.