The United Nations has been in existence since October 24, 1945 but the world’s confidence on it has waxed and waned through the decades especially since the Western powers had often used its Security Council (SC) for unjust U.S. interventionism starting with its invasion of Korea in 1950.
The Third World countries have frequently been at the losing end of the manipulation of the UN by the Western Powers.
An example of the injustice in the early years of the UN was the exclusion of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) from 1945 to 1971, a full 26 years simply because of the U.S. coddling its own client Kuomintang-held Taiwan. This situation left 800-Million Chinese people of the PRC at that time representing at least ¼ of world population unrepresented in the conduct of international affairs.
Through two decades-and-a-half of patient development of its own struggling economy and society and overcoming the early challenges from Western imperialist powers like the victorious defense of Asia mainland in Korea against US imperialist aggression thereby setting an inspiration to all of the Third World, China gained friends and partners across the developing world.
In October 1971 when newly independent nations grew in numbers in the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), 40 newly sovereign African countries had been inducted into the UN by then and together with the socialist countries finally did justice to the UN mandate as a world body by voting in the PRC as member, and excluding Taiwan, by a vote of 76 in favor, 35 opposed and 17 abstentions.
The friends the PRC gained across the globe came with advocacy for the Third World such as support for the Non-Aligned Movement and aid to many developing nations especially Africa despite China’s own struggles. The US ostensibly opposed acceptance of China to the last minute of that UNGA vote and one could see the consternation of then US representative George H.W. Bush at the vote.
Fifty years later, like many things China has done with warp speed for its economy and modernization, China has also grown as a heavyweight in the UN system. China is the second largest financial supporter of the UN today, contributing 15% of its financial requirement, and the biggest contributor of manpower to the UN peacekeeping force among the ranks of the Security Council.
The UN and its family have also grown with 50 affiliated organizations, with the WHO among the most crucial in today’s Covid-19 stricken world. As is often the case China has also stepped up to the plate at the most critical time of the pandemic, donating $ 2-billion to WHO in May 2020 as the US withdrew its contribution in the midst of a Trump tantrum.
READ: China’s Role in UN Peacekeeping
President Xi Jinping of China spoke at this year’s commemorative meeting marking the “50th anniversary of the restoration of the People’s Republic of China’s lawful seat in the UN” after a virtual meeting with UN Secretary-General Antonio Gutierrez. We couldn’t agree more with what President Xi said in the speech, the most salient points we quote below:
“The restoration of New China’s lawful seat in the UN… came as the result of joint efforts of all peace-loving countries that stood up for justice in the world…” Xi said, which indeed it was as the overwhelming majority of the UN at that time voted in favor of PRC. Unfortunately, the Philippines at that time still voted among the 26 following the U.S. political diktat.
“It falls upon us to follow the prevailing trend of history, and choose cooperation over confrontation, openness over seclusion, and mutual benefit over zero-sum games”, and indeed in all aspects of today, such as nuclear technology that negates any benefit of war yet obviates future desperation for energy sources. Win-win cooperation, therefore. Bears unmitigated fruits for all.
Here is one message that warms my heart as a Filipino, “The Chinese people are a strong supporter of other developing countries in their struggle to safeguard sovereignty, security and development interests…. are committed to achieving common development. From the Tazara Railway* to the Belt and Road Initiative.” That reminds me of China’s trillion-$ global development initiative.
In the face of the U.S. and the West’s “rule-based order” – but whose “rule”? It is good to hear President Xi remind the World through the UN that, “International rules can only be made by the 193 UN Member States together, and not decided by individual countries or blocs of countries. The West’s definition of the of “Human Rights” for example is permeated with politics and has a famine of economic rights.
China has led the UN to rendezvous with the Asian Century and the full development and liberation of the Third World. As President Xi said, “’Green hills immerse in the same cloud and rain. The same moon lights up towns however far away.’ Let us join hands, stand on th e right side of history and the side of human progress, and work tirelessly for the lasting and peaceful development of the world and for building a community with a shared future for mankind!”