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China: Role to play ensuring fair globisation

China has major role to play in ensuring fair globalization, multilateralism – Annan

In the third of his lectures at Asian universities, Secretary-General Kofi Annan told Beijing students today that China’s engagement with the United Nations was essential as the world faces the challenges of achieving fair globalization, promoting multilateralism and protecting the human rights of all people in every country on earth.

Mr. Annan also stressed that during his current visit to Japan, the Republic of Korea, and now China he had noted the deep and multi-layered ties between the three countries and was encouraged by the desire of leaders of all three to have better relations.

He suggested that the three pool their efforts on issues of common concern, such as protecting the environment in this part of the world and advancing a Green Revolution in Africa, so as to help pave the way for improved relations, and in doing so help them to realize their immense individual and collective potential.

“The UN family looks forward to an ever more engaged partnership with China in the years to come,” he said at Peking University. “Here at home, we are determined to help your great country realize the tremendous promise it holds. And in the international arena, we can provide an essential platform as China continues to go global.”

Mr. Annan, who has already addressed university students in Seoul, Republic of Korea, and Tokyo, Japan, on his five-nation Asian trip, paid tribute to China’s achievements, from its progress “on a scale that is unprecedented in human history” in reducing poverty to its “pioneering role” in cooperation with other developing countries.

“China’s performance will have an increasingly profound effect on the ability of the world as a whole to reach the Millennium Development Goals,” he said, referring to the targets set by the UN Millennium Summit of 2000 to slash a host of the world’s ills, such as extreme hunger and poverty, high infant and maternal mortality and lack of access to education and health care, all by 2015.

He noted that China is already on its way to meeting most of the Goals. “Yet huge challenges remain,” he said. “Somehow, the rural poor must be enabled to share in China's amazing economic growth. Urgent efforts are needed to fight the spread of HIV/AIDS. And measures to protect the environment are equally crucial.”

He stressed to his young listeners that they will enter a world shaped by globalization: what happens in one country affects others, whether it be epidemics, environmental degradation, nuclear proliferation and terrorism that challenge everyone, or scientific breakthroughs, information technology and economic integration that can benefit all.

“The biggest challenge facing your generation is to ensure that globalization becomes a force for good - a force that works not only for the privileged few, but for all humankind,” he said, noting that his talks with Chinese leaders showed the breadth of China’s role in the world and the importance of China's engagement with the UN.

“We discussed the fundamental importance of multilateralism and the irreplaceable role of the UN, as well as the need to deliver concrete reform results on everything from the development agenda and the Millennium Development Goals to peacebuilding, strengthening human rights work, management reform, the mandate review and counter-terrorism,” he added.

“On all the issues confronting us, we look forward to working together with young people like you, who represent the future of China,” he concluded. “Your determination will be crucial as you build on the achievements of your leaders. And China's future is fundamental to the future of the world.”

Mr. Annan, who came to Asia from Vienna, where he attended a European Union-Latin American summit, has arrived in Viet Nam and travels from there to Thailand.

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