Chinese President stresses unity, cooperation to tackle global challenges with UN chief

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Chinese President Xi Jinping attends the opening ceremony of 2022 Beijing Olympics. Reuters

Gulf Today Report

Chinese President Xi Jinping stressed strengthening unity and cooperation to tackle various pressing global challenges, while meeting with United Nations (UN) Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in Beijing.

Xi said China will continue to firmly support the UN’s work, and make new contributions to safeguarding world peace and development and building a community with a shared future for humanity.


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Guterres came to China for the opening ceremony of the Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games.

Meanwhile, Guterres told Chinese leaders on Saturday that he expected authorities to allow UN human rights chief Michelle Bachelet to make a “credible visit” to the country, including Xinjiang, the United Nations said.

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UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres speaks during an event. File photo

Guterres met with Xi and Foreign Minister Wang Yi on the sidelines of the Winter Olympics, according to a UN readout of the meetings.

Xi said hosting a streamlined, safe and splendid Olympics will inject confidence and strength into the world amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Xi pointed out three major issues that deserve much thought and attention at present and over the coming period globally: enhancing unity to fight COVID-19, boosting development and promoting democracy.

On the pandemic fight, Xi said China had delivered on its promise to provide 2 billion vaccines to the world in 2021 and will continue to increase its anti-pandemic support for developing countries.

A man walks past the logo of Beijing 2022 Olympics in Beijing. AP
The Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games.

On development, Xi said China is willing to work closely with the UN and jointly push for the realization of stronger, greener, and healthier global growth.

On democracy, Xi stressed that each country has the right to choose a development path suited to its national conditions and the needs of its people.

Guterres said that China’s successful organising of such a large-scale and safe Winter Olympics is extraordinary.

The world needs a successful Winter Olympics, which sends a clear message that people of any country, nation, or religious belief can rise above differences and achieve solidarity and cooperation, he added.

The UN chief commended China for its huge contribution to the global fight against the pandemic and underscored the importance of the Global Development Initiative put forward by Xi, which is of great significance to promoting the realisation of the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and to addressing inequality and imbalance in global development.

Guterres said the partnership with China is a vital pillar of the UN and multilateralism. He added that the UN seeks to strengthen cooperation with China and looks forward to China’s greater role in global issues such as the reform of the international system.

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UN human rights chief Michelle Bachelet attends a meeting. File photo

Bachelet has long sought access to Xinjiang to investigate accusations of abuse against ethnic Uyghurs. The issue has soured relations between Beijing and the West, sparking accusations of genocide from Washington and a US-led diplomatic boycott by some countries of the Winter Olympics.

“The Secretary-General … expressed his expectation that the contacts between the office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Chinese authorities will allow for a credible visit of the High Commissioner to China, including Xinjiang,” said the UN readout of Guterres’ meetings.

Bachelet’s office in Geneva said last month that conversations were underway for a possible trip to the area in northwest China in the first half of the year.

Rights groups accuse China of widescale abuses against Uyghurs and other minority groups, including torture, forced labor and detention of 1 million people in internment camps.

China calls them re-education and training facilities, denies abuses, and says it is combating religious extremism.

Guterres also discussed Afghanistan and climate change — among other issues — during his meetings with Xi and Wang.

“The Secretary-General recognized the important efforts China is making to address climate change but reiterated the appeal for additional efforts to accelerate the transition to the green economy to bridge the emissions gap,” said the UN statement.

Guterres traveled to Beijing to attend the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics on Friday. The ceremony concluded with the Olympic flame cauldron lit by two young Chinese Olympians, one of them a member of China’s Uyghur minority.

 

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