Remarks by Ambassador Zhang Jun at the UN Security Council Emergency Meeting on Ukraine

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June 7, 2023

Mr. President,

I would like to start by thanking you for convening this emergency meeting. I also thank Under-Secretary-General Martin Griffiths for his briefing.

The protection of civilians and critical civilian facilities in armed conflict is an important principle enshrined in international humanitarian law. We express our grave concerns over the destruction in the Kakhovka hydroelectric power plant dam. We are deeply concerned about the resulting humanitarian, economic, and ecological consequences. We urge all parties to the conflict to abide by international humanitarian law and to do their utmost to protect civilians and civilian infrastructure.

The collapse of the dam has caused major inundations. A greater number of people are in urgent need of evacuation, and more than tens of thousands of people may face difficulties in accessing drinking water. We support the active efforts by the UN and humanitarian agencies to assist to the best of their ability in the evacuation of the affected population, followed by further assistance.

The Kakhovka reservoir is also a major source of cooling water for the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant. We note that the IAEA Director-General has confirmed now the incident has not yet posed any risk to the safety of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant. However, the water in the reservoir continues to recede, and it may not be possible to continue pumping water to the nuclear power plant in the future. China reiterates that in the event of a nuclear disaster, no one can stay immune. We call for maximum restraint, avoiding words and deeds that could escalate confrontation and lead to miscalculation, and maintaining the safety and security of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant.

Mr. President,

China is concerned about the protraction and even further escalation of the crisis in Ukraine. What has just happened reminds us once again that anything can happen in a conflict situation. As the flames of war rage on, it will only bring about greater suffering and more disasters, creating more risks that are grave and impossible to predict. The parties concerned should submit to good sense, exercise restraint, and resume peace talks as soon as possible. The international community should spare no effort with a greater sense of urgency to create favorable conditions for promoting dialogue and negotiations and restoring peace. No party, especially countries with important influence, should fuel the fire and escalate tensions, much less try to profit from expanded crises to advance their own strategic agenda. China will continue to stand on the side of peace and, alongside partners concerned, make unremitting efforts to promote peace talks and achieve a political settlement of the Ukraine crisis.

I thank you, Mr. President.

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