Remarks by Ambassador Zhang Jun at the UN Security Council briefing on humanitarian situation in Ukraine

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May 15, 2023

Madam President,

I thank USG Griffiths for his briefing just now.

The Ukraine crisis is still dragging on. The humanitarian situation remains extremely dire, and the spillover effects of the crisis continue to manifest themselves. The international community should take positive steps to mitigate the humanitarian consequences of the conflict, and make joint efforts for the de-escalation of the situation and an early cessation of hostilities.

First, every effort should be made to reduce the harm and suffering done to civilians. The international humanitarian law provides for the code of conduct that must be observed in situations of conflict. Parties to the conflict should spare no effort in protecting the safety of civilians and civilian facilities. Women and children are the most vulnerable groups in armed conflicts and must be given special attention. We welcome the expansion of aid to all affected populations and the facilitation of repair and restoration of civilian infrastructure by the international community, including humanitarian agencies on the basis of neutrality and impartiality. China supports the balanced, full and effective implementation of the Black Sea Green Initiative and the MOU on the export of Russian food and fertilizers, and supports the UN in playing an important role in this regard to remove the real obstacles facing the export of Russian food and fertilizers.

Second, the red line of nuclear safety must never be crossed. Nuclear weapons must not be used and nuclear wars must not be fought. The safety and security of nuclear power plant facilities in Ukraine concerns the safety and well being of hundreds of millions of people. Any accident could cause incalculable humanitarian and ecological consequences. We call for maximum restraint and for avoiding words and deeds that could exacerbate confrontation and lead to miscalculations. China supports the Director General of IAEA in maintaining communication with Russia and Ukraine and playing a crucial role in safeguarding the safety and security of civilian nuclear facilities.

Third, the spill over effects of the conflict response measures should be taken seriously and managed. The world economy is faced with renewed risks of recession, which calls for the coordinated actions by all countries to jointly keep global food, energy and financial markets stable. However, one round of unilateral sanctions after another and ever expanding long arm jurisdiction have not only led to severe humanitarian consequences, but also undermined the global industrial and supply chains.

The US and other relevant countries should seriously reflect upon their behavior, immediately mend their ways and create conditions for developing countries to grow their economies and improve livelihoods. They must refrain from engaging in economic coercion on one hand, and on the other cooking up narratives accusing other countries of economic coercion. Unilateral sanctions have no basis in international law, and are drawing the aversion and opposition from a growing number of countries. It must be pointed out that the so called rules based international order is likewise highly problematic in legal and practical senses. They are no excuse for the US and other relevant countries to abuse unilateral sanctions and hardly enjoy broad support or recognition from the international community.

Forth, and most fundamentally, the greatest sense of urgency is needed for the political settlement of the crisis. There are no simple answers to complex issues. Any comprehensive solution always begins with the first step and the assumption of dialogue and negotiation cannot wait indefinitely. All parties should create conditions for advancing dialogue and negotiation instead of adding fuel to the fire and escalating tensions in an attempt to profit from it. On the Ukraine issue, China has always been on the side of peace and everything we do is for the promotion of talks for peace. Ambassador Li Hui, the Special Representative of the Chinese government on Eurasian Affairs, has left today for visits to Ukraine, Poland, France, Germany and Russia, to engage with all parties on the political settlement of the Ukraine crisis. We stand ready to work with the international community in the continued and tireless efforts towards the political settlement of the Ukraine crisis.

Thank you, Madam President.

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