CICA Shanghai summit to promote preventive action: UN chief

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The upcoming summit of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA) will promote preventive action, UN Secretary-general Ban Ki-moon said Tuesday.

"There are historical legacies, territorial disputes, maritime issues in Asia, but nothing is impossible to overcome if we are sincerely engaged in dialogue," Ban said in an interview with Xinhua.

Ban, who is on a five-day official visit to China, will attend the CICA summit in Shanghai from Tuesday to Wednesday.

Ban has high regard for China's leaders, particularly President Xi Jinping, saying China, as chair of the CICA, will help build trust and confidence, leading strong and sustained engagement, dialogue and cooperation among members.

The CICA was established in 1992 as a forum for dialogue and consultation. It now has 24 member countries and 13 observers.

Calling Asia and the Pacific an area of "dynamism and great transformation," Ban said there are some conflicts, but there is great hope and prospects for prosperity.

As far as CICA is concerned, UN is an observer, Ban said, stressing the principles enshrined in the UN charter, such as peaceful resolution of crisis, promoting dialogue and trust, promoting development and upholding human rights, which are fully respected by CICA.

"I take climate change as the No.1 priority," Ban said. A big focus of his trip to China is the climate change summit scheduled for September in New York, and the role China can play in combating climate change and in climate adaptation. "I count on the Chinese leadership. China can be a world champion in leading this campaign."

Citing extreme weather patterns around the world, Ban said, "Nature is sending us a signal that our planet is sick."

Acknowledging there is a divide between the developed countries and developing countries in terms of climate change, Ban underscored the agreed principle of "common but differentiated responsibility."

"Advanced countries have responsibilities to provide financial and technological support to developing countries, so they can mitigate and adapt to this changing situation," Ban said. "We have only one planet. We don't have a plan B. Our focus must be united action."


As Joint United Nations-Arab League envoy for Syria Lakhdar Brahimi announced that he will step down at the end of May, Ban said he had to accept Brahimi's resignation "with great reluctance."

"But that doesn't mean there is deadlock," Ban said, acknowledging little prospect for the resumption of the Geneva talks on settlement of the conflict in Syria.

Two rounds of talks this year saw both sides sticking to their positions and yielded only modest cooperation on the humanitarian issue of aid access to the city of Homs. A third round has been planned but not scheduled.

Ban urged those countries which have influence on the Syrian government and opposition forces to "exercise their influence, so they will come back to the dialogue table."

"I am afraid both sides seem to have the illusion that either side can beat the other side by military means. There is no military option. There is only one peaceful solution to political process," Ban said.

On the UN humanitarian mission in Syria, Ban said there are more than 3.5 million people who UN has never reached.

The UN is working hard to destroy Syria's chemical weapons, Ban said. "Ninety-three percent of chemical weapons in Syria have been destroyed. We will completely destroy them."

Ban urged the Syrian government and the opposition forces to reconcile themselves, stressing that the UN stands ready to resolve the crisis through mediation.

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