China and the US have agreed to spare no efforts to block a plan by Japan, Germany, Brazil and India to expand the UN Security Council, Chinese Ambassador to the UN Wang Guangya said Thursday.
Wang said the consensus was reached Tuesday during a meeting with the new US Ambassador to the UN John Bolton, who has been busy making courtesy calls on his counterparts at the world organization after he assumed the new post.
Japan, Germany, Brazil and India, known as the G4 or Group of Four, are aspiring to become permanent members on an enlarged Security Council.
"We have shared objectives for the UN reform and we have shared objectives for the Security Council expansion. But definitely both sides see that the process now being pushed by the G4 is damaging the prospect of the UN reform," Wang told reporters.
He said the two countries would work "in parallel" and step up efforts all over the world to prevent the G4 from getting two-thirds votes in the General Assembly required for the adoption of its council expansion proposal.
An assembly resolution needs the backing of two-thirds of the 191 UN member states, or 128 "yes" votes.
Wang said a main common objective for the US and China regarding the Security Council expansion is to prevent the UN membership from being divided and ensure the council's effectiveness not to be undermined.
He stressed that the G4's proposal, if being implemented, would certainly damage the authority and effectiveness of the 15-nation council, the most powerful UN organ.
Under a draft resolution tabled by the G4 in early July, the number of the seats on the council would be increased to 25 by adding six permanent seats and four non-permanent seats. It also provides for a 15-year freeze on the exercise of the veto power by the new permanent members.
The council is currently composed of five veto-wielding permanent members -- China, Britain, France, the US and Russia -- and 10 rotating elected members with a two-year term.
The G4 has been pushing for a vote by the General Assembly on its resolution before September, when world leaders will gather in New York for a UN summit to approve a package of proposals to reform the UN.
The group has tried to persuade the 53-nation African Union (AU) to support its draft. The AU also introduced a resolution on the council enlargement, which would add six permanent members with the veto power and five elected members.
At a ministerial meeting in London late last month, the G4 agreed to Africa's demand for an increase of five non-permanent members in exchange for its drop of the request for the veto power. But at a summit meeting in Ethiopia Thursday, the AU rejected the compromise.
Commenting on the outcome of the AU summit, Wang said it indicated clearly that the G4 proposal is unpopular with the UN membership and cannot garner the support of a two-thirds majority of the UN member states.
Without the support of African nations, if the G4 puts its draft resolution to a vote, they would certainly be defeated, he warned, adding that they should withdraw the measure.
Wang stressed that China's position on the G4 resolution is clear and firm and the Chinese government will never change such a stance even if the G4 forces it through the General Assembly.
"I believe the governments of China, the US and many other major countries will balk at urging their parliaments to ratify such a council expansion proposal…. And apparently, the G4 resolution will anyway be a scrap of paper," he noted.
A change in the Security Council requires an amendment to provisions of the UN Charter relating to the organ. The assembly needs to approve a resolution on how to make changes and then a second resolution to amend the charter. But the charter amendment will come into effect only after being ratified by the legislatures of two-thirds of the UN member states, including all the existing five permanent members of the council.
(Xinhua News Agency August 5, 2005)