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UN @ 75 – Time for reforms


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As the President of US is always given the honor to give inauguration address at UNGA every year, President Donald Trump used his time speaking to the United Nations General Assembly to slam China and blame it for the coronavirus pandemic, which the world is fighting, while his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping pushed back against his “baseless accusations.” “As we pursue this bright future, we must hold accountable the nation which unleashed this plague onto the world: China,” Trump said in a pre-recorded speech filmed on Monday in Washington. 

The President also slammed the World Health Organization, which he claimed is “virtually controlled by China.” ”The United Nations must hold China accountable for their actions,” Trump declared, adding praise for his own administration’s response to the virus, even though the pandemic has exposed the US health infrastructure.

He specifically blamed China for “allowing flights to leave” the country in the early days of the pandemic, facilitating wider transmission to other countries and for claiming “people without symptoms would not spread the disease.” He referred to the Covid-19 virus as the “China virus” – something he’s repeatedly done before. Trump calls COVID-19 the ‘china virus’ at 75th annual UNGA.

Xi pushed back in his own address to the UN, saying the pandemic should not be “politicized.” While he did not name the US directly, the President’s speech had none of Trump’s nationalist declarations and he called instead for cooperation between countries, saying, “Unilateralism is dead.” “No country has the right to dominate global affairs, control the destiny of others or keep advantages in development all to itself,” Xi said, adding that no nation should be the “bully or boss of the world.”

The coronavirus pandemic has claimed nearly one million lives globally and 200,000 in the US alone, according to the latest Reuters tally. In many ways, the speech was vintage Trump. He boasted that his America First approach to foreign policy – anathema to the UN’s multilateral ethos – is the best way forward for the US and the world.

He beamed about US economic and military strength. And he bragged about his administration’s handling of the coronavirus, even though nearly 200,000 Americans have died of the disease, while expressing hopes for a better, pandemic-less world.

But the key takeaway is Trump’s framing of China as the nation most responsible for the Covid-19 outbreak and therefore the country most deserving of the world’s scorn. It continues the administration’s preference to speak of China as a Cold War-like enemy, with the US leading the way to rid the globe of its evil. “The United Nations must hold China accountable for their actions,” Trump declared.

Many expected Trump to say these things, partly because he’s been saying them for months. He at first praised China’s handling of the coronavirus, and only started to speak belligerently about Beijing as his failure to control America’s outbreak became too big to ignore.

Now he’s taken that message, at first geared toward a domestic audience, to the global stage. Of course, Trump did not vow to distribute a coronavirus vaccine around the world, nor did he swear to tackle key global problems like climate change. Such failures may lead much of the speech to be disregarded.

China will continue to work as a builder of global peace, a contributor to global development and a defender of international order. To support the UN in playing its central role in international affairs, I (President Xi) hereby announce the following steps to be taken by China:

– China will provide another US$ 50 Million to the UN COVID-19 Global Humanitarian Response Plan.

– China will provide US$ 50 Million to the China – FAO South – South Cooperation Trust Fund (Phase III).

– China will extend the Peace and Development Trust Fund between the UN and China by five years after it expires in 2025.

– China will set up a UN Global Geospatial Knowledge and Innovation Center and an International Research Center of Big Data for Sustainable Development Goals to facilitate the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. 

Putin mentioned that the veto right of the five permanent members of the UNSC remains a unique instrument of global conflict prevention, which reflects the balance of power and should be preserved. He does not want to expand the P5 nations to include the G4 (Germany, Japan, India and South Africa) nations to dilute the hold of World War II victors.

“Such a right pertaining to the five nuclear powers, the victors of World War II, remains indicative of the actual military and political balance to this day. Most importantly, it is an essential and unique instrument that helps prevent unilateral actions that may result in direct military confrontation between major states”, he stressed.

The 75th anniversary of the United Nations is a cause to remember the principles of inter-state relations that are enshrined in the UN charter, Putin said, recalling that the world celebrates “two historic anniversaries” this year – 75 years since the end of WWII and the establishment of the UN. The Russian president stressed that the UN Charter “remains the main source of international law to this day”.

“I am convinced that this anniversary makes it incumbent upon all of us to recall the timeless principles of inter-state communication enshrined in the UN Charter and formulated by the founding fathers of our universal organisation in the clearest and most unambiguous terms. These principles include the equality of sovereign states, non-interference in domestic affairs, the right of peoples to determine their own future, and non-use of force or the threat of force and political settlement of disputes”,  Modi articulated. At the beginning of the speech, he opined that the United Nations is in need of retrospection and a change in the structures.

He also spoke on the subject of India’s relationships with its neighbouring countries, possibly taking a dig at China. “From India’s Neighbourhood First Policy to our Act East Policy, as well as the idea of security and growth for all in the region, or our views towards the Indo-Pacific region, we have always worked for the interests of humankind and not driven by our self-interests,” PM Modi said. PM Modi also said that as the largest vaccine-producing country in the world, India’s vaccine production and delivery capacity will be used to help all of humanity in fighting the coronavirus crisis. India is one of the biggest vaccine producing nation of the world. Another company Piramal Glass boasts of making vaccine phials for the entire world. President Bolsonaro believes the pandemic has also provided a valuable lesson, namely that “we cannot possibly depend on just a few nations for the production of essential inputs and means for our survival.” He said Brazil is thus open for the development of state-of the-art technology, including 5G, artificial intelligence and nanotechnology, but only with partners “who respect our sovereignty and cherish freedom and data protection”, a clear hint against the monopolist attitude of China towards world economies.

On the occasion of the United Nation’s (UN) 75th anniversary, German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday called for reforms to the organisation and for greater unity between its members. “In the end, the United Nations can only be as good as its members are united,” Merkel said in a video message delivered Monday evening at a ceremony marking the anniversary. “Too often the UNSC is blocked when clear decisions are needed,” the Chancellor said, referring to the branch of the UN tasked with ensuring international peace and security. “We need reform.” The interests of individual members regularly keep the organisation from achieving its goals, Merkel said.  

“But anyone who thinks he can get along better on his own is mistaken. Our well-being is shared. And so is our suffering,” she said. “We are one world.” The German leader pointed to the global coronavirus pandemic as an example of a problem that crosses national borders. Such problems require “communication and cooperation” at all levels, Germany is willing to do its part to improve the organisation, for example by expanding the UN Security Council, Merkel said, making reference to past suggestions for reforms to the UN’s most powerful body. 

The Indian delegate at the United Nations General Assembly session on Friday walked out in protest when Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan began attacking India in his speech at the high-level meeting. First Secretary Mijito Vinito, who was sitting on the second seat in the first row of the Assembly chamber, stood up and left as soon as Khan turned on India by focusing on the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). Imran wants to champion the cause of Muslims world over along with its friends like Turkey and Malaysia, and easily forgetting the human rights violations and barbaric acts on its Muslims in the erstwhile East Pakistan, now liberated and became Bangladesh. Khan’s pre-recorded speech was screened at the General Assembly chamber during the annual meeting stymied this year by the Covid-19 precautions. Khan also declared a thinly veiled support for the attacks on India by the militants. A bankrupt nation on the verge of FAFT list always stoops low and attack India.

For Mr. Ramaphosa, of South Africa, one of the nations which wants to become permanent members of UNSC, one of the upshots of the pandemic is that is has presented the world with a choice, and an opportunity to create a new order, rooted in “solidarity, equality and unity of purpose.” “When history faithfully records the global response to the worst health emergency of this century”, concluded Mr. Ramaphosa, “let it be said that we stood and acted as one, that we provided leadership, and that we gave the peoples of all nations hope and courage”.

The Japanese PM told the UN assembly he is ready to meet North Korean leader Kim Jong Un without any preconditions to resolve the long-running issue of Japanese citizens abducted by the North decades ago, reiterating the stance of his predecessor, besides holding the Olympics in the year 2021. “Establishing a constructive relationship between Japan and North Korea will not only serve the interests of both sides but will also greatly contribute to regional peace and stability,” he said.

President Macron also considered that the UN itself “runs the risk of powerlessness”, with the Security Council, for example, having hardly managed to meet at the height of the coronavirus pandemic because two of its permanent members “preferred to display their rivalry.” This was a clear pointer to both US and China and he showed the mirror to them. The world as it is today “cannot be reduced to the rivalry between China and the United States, whatever the global weight of these two great Powers, whatever also the ‘history that binds us together,” he said.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson made a special reference to India’s role in the manufacture and access to one of the most promising coronavirus vaccine candidates currently undergoing trials during his address to the United Nations (UN) General Assembly. In reference to the vaccine being worked on by the University of Oxford, Johnson stressed the importance of equitable access of any successful vaccine because the health of every country depends on the whole world having access to a safe and effective vaccine, wherever a breakthrough might occur.

If the world wants and its leaders want next generation reforms of admitting new members in the UNSC can easily be done. Mainland China became UNSC member in the year 1974, with the blessings of US President Richard Nixon after his secret visit to mainland China and given global importance.

India has been contributing to global peace keeping force right from the Manchurian war and supply of drugs to around 152 nations during Covid – 19 pandemic and has assured its neighbours of its full support to fight the Covid – 19 pandemic with vaccine and other financial support like UK which assured the world. This annual ritual of speeches and assurances and vision statements went futile and countries like Germany, South Africa, Japan and India look forward to their rightful place among the top leaders of the global order. The UN structure was set up in the year 1945 and it does not reflect the present day realities and is ill equipped for the current day challenges.

It’s time for the UN reforms to happen and they will happen sooner or later. India becomes a temporary member of the UNSC on 1st January 2021 for a period of 2 years and it got overwhelming support from all regions of the world. India got elected to the UN Security Council as a non – permanent member with 184 of the 192 votes for a two – year term starting January 1, 2021. India will begin its eighth two-year term with its claim for the permanent seat in the UN Security Council. We must get a rightly deserved place in the UNSC.

Rajiv Saxena
Rajiv Saxena
Rajiv Prakash Saxena is a graduate of UBC, Vancouver, Canada. He is an authority on eCommerce, eProcurement, eSign, DSCs and Internet Security. He has been a Technology Bureaucrat and Thought leader in the Government. He has 8 books and few UN assignments. He wrote IT Policies of Colombia and has implemented projects in Jordan, Rwanda, Nepal and Mauritius. Rajiv writes, speaks, mentors on technology issues in Express Computers, ET, National frontier and TV debates. He worked and guided the following divisions: Computer Aided Design (CAD), UP: MP: Maharashtra and Haryana State Coordinator to setup NICNET in their respective Districts of the State, TradeNIC, wherein a CD containing list of 1,00,000 exporters was cut with a search engine and distributed to all Indian Embassies and High Commissions way back in the year 1997 (It was an initiative between NIC and MEA Trade Division headed by Ms. Sujatha Singh, IFS, India’s Ex Foreign Secretary), Law Commission, Ministry of Law & Justice, Department of Legal Affairs, Department of Justice, Ministry of Urban Development (MoUD), Ministry of Housing & Urban Poverty Alleviation (MoHUPA), National Jail Project, National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), National Commission for Minorities (NCM), National Data Centres (NDC), NIC National Infrastructure, Certifying Authority (CA) to issue Digital Signature Certificates (DSCs), eProcurement, Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs (MPA), Lok Sabha and its Secretariat (LSS) and Rajya Sabha and its Secretariat (RSS) along with their subordinate and attached offices like Directorate of Estate (DoE), Land & Development Office (L&DO), National Building Construction Corporation (NBCC), Central Public Works Department (CPWD), National Capital Regional Planning Board (NCRPB), Housing & Urban Development Corporation (HUDO), National Building Organisation (NBO), Delhi Development Authority (DDA), BMPTC and many others.


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