Beijing, People’s Republic of China

07 July 2016

Secretary-General’s remarks at joint press conference with H.E Mr. Wang Yi, Minister of Foreign Affairs for the People’s Republic of China [scroll down for Q &A]

Your Excellency Mr. Wang Yi, Minister of Foreign Affairs for the People’s Republic of China,
Ladies and Gentleman of the media,

Nihao, good afternoon. 

It's a great pleasure for me to be making my 10th visit to China as the Secretary-General of the United Nations.

Let me start by expressing my deep condolences for the loss of life and damage caused by the latest flooding in several provinces in China.

I hope that the many displaced can return to their homes as soon as possible.

The United Nations will continue to work with China and other countries to build resilience and enhance our preparedness at a time when disasters continue to increase in frequency and magnitude.

A few minutes ago Wang Yi and I had a very constructive meeting on various agendas involving international peace and security including regional security, development issues and many other issues.

Cooperation between the United Nations and China continues to deepen. China under President Xi Jinping is demonstrating path-breaking leadership on sustainable development and climate change. China is demonstrating to the world that low carbon climate resilience development pathway is achievable.

I highly commend the leadership of China in promoting and accelerating the process of ratification of the Paris Agreement by G20 summit. And it has significantly accelerated political momentum towards the agreements rapid entry into force.

China’s establishment of fund for peace and development to support the work of the United Nations is extremely generous and encouraging.

China has also increased its contribution to peacekeeping with support for our missions in South Sudan, Mali and elsewhere. This morning I had the very valuable opportunity of visiting a Chinese army’s helicopter division, where the soldiers and peacekeepers were being trained. We are very much grateful for their commitment to provide the resources and assets like helicopters to peacekeeping operations.

Minister Wang and I have discussed on various issues of our mutual concern including the situations in Myanmar, Sudan, South Sudan and Syria and elsewhere. But most of all Mr. Wang and I discussed the situation on the Korean peninsula which remains a grave concern for the region and the world. I continued to call for dialogue as the best path to break the cycle of provocation.

Our talks also touched on the tension issues relating to the South China Sea. As Secretary-General I cannot comment on the arbitration case for which a ruling may be reached shortly.

But I did stress to Minister Wang, as I have with all other countries involved, the need to resolve their differences in a peaceful manner and to avoid any escalation or misunderstanding that could put security and development in the region at risk.

In almost 10 years as Secretary-General I have the seen the remarkable transformation of China and invaluable contributions that China makes to the work of the United Nations.

As China continues along the path of transformation and reform, I encourage China’s leaders to create the space needed for the civil society to play as a crucial role.

Environmental activists, human rights lawyers and defenders, government watchdogs and other civil society groups can act as a catalyst for social progress and economic growth.

They can represent the diverse interests of the population and bring the voices of the vulnerable in from the margins. Along with a free and independent media they can help ensure accountability and thereby helping the state to be more effective and strengthening the standing in the eyes of the people.

The world will look to China to complement its remarkable economic advances by giving citizens a full say and role in the political life of their country.

As a permanent member of the Security Council and a universally recognised global actor, China also plays a pivotal role in helping to ease tensions, build peace and provide life saving assistance to the world’s troubled spots from the Middle East to Africa and elsewhere.

Minister Wang, I sincerely thank China for your friendship for the past decade of fruitful engagement with the United Nations.

I look forward to returning to China in September for the G20 summit and to continue to work together to advance peace, development and human rights for all.

Thank you. Xie xie.

Q: Following the nuclear test by the DPRK, the UN Security Council passed a resolution and China voted for it. What is your comment on China’s role and do you have any plans to visit the DPRK?

SG:  China, as a permanent member of the Security Council, has been playing a very important role on maintaining peace and security on the Korean Peninsula, particularly in the wake of DPRK’s nuclear test and continuing ballistic missile’s test.

The United Nations and I, as the Secretary-General, are very much concerned at the rising tensions on the Korean Peninsula.
All Security Council resolutions must be fully implemented, and these are the united core of international community to the DPRK to reverse its current course, to return to dialogue and refrain from making further provocations.

At the same time, the concerned countries, particularly Republic of Korea, China, United States and other concerned countries should also step up their efforts to reduce tension and to find a path to resume dialogue for denuclearization and also other means to reduce tension in the Korean Peninsula.

As the Secretary-General of the United Nations, I stand ready always to contribute - in any way, whatever way, at any time – to contribute myself first of all to the resumption of dialogue and reduce tension between South and North Korea and also work together with other concerned parties, including China.

Thank you.