China ‘disappointed, regretful’ over US veto on UNSC resolution calling for Gaza ceasefire

Global Times, December 9, 2023 —

China expressed deep disappointment and regret over the US’ veto of a UN Security Council resolution draft calling for a humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza, Chinese Ambassador to UN Zhang Jun said on local time Friday, criticizing the US’ hypocrisy and double standards.

The UN Security Council convened an emergency session during which Secretary-General António Guterres said that there is “a high risk of the total collapse of the humanitarian support system in Gaza, which would have devastating consequences.”

The draft, proposed by countries including the United Arab Emirates (UAE), received 13 votes and one abstention from the UK. The only rejection came from the US, a permanent member of the Security Council with veto power.

After the voting, Zhang said the core of the resolution draft proposed by the UAE, on behalf of Arab countries, is to call for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza and the release of all hostages. This resolution has nearly 100 co-sponsoring countries, including China. We are extremely disappointed and regretful that the resolution was vetoed by the US.

The two months of conflict have caused unprecedented death and destruction, and an immediate ceasefire is the prerequisite for everything. On this issue, any negative attitude is untenable, and any justification (of rejection) is feeble, Zhang said.

It is contradictory to tolerate the continuation of the conflict while claiming to care about the safety and humanitarian needs of the people in Gaza. It is self-deceptive to advocate preventing the spillover of the conflict while tolerating its continuation. It is extremely hypocritical to tolerate the continuation of the conflict while paying lip service to the protection of human rights and the protection of women and children, Zhang said, “All of this once again shows us what double standards are.”

Zhang stated that although the resolution was vetoed, the strong international calls for a ceasefire, protection of civilians, and prevention of a greater humanitarian disaster will not diminish, and efforts by the Security Council to uphold justice and fulfil its responsibilities will not stop.

We urge Israel to listen to the international community’s calls, stop the collective punishment of the people in Gaza, and support further diplomatic mediation to facilitate the early release of all detained individuals. We call on all relevant parties to concentrate all efforts on the common goal of calming the flames of war in Gaza, giving the Palestinian people hope for survival, and leaving hope for peace in the Middle East, Zhang said.

Since hostilities escalated in early October, more than 17,000 Palestinians have been killed, including more than 4,000 women and 7,000 children. Tens of thousands are reportedly injured, and many are missing, presumably under the rubble, according to Guterres who reported the recent situation in Middle East at the Friday session.

“Attacks from air, land and sea are intense, continuous and widespread. So far, they have reportedly hit 339 education facilities, 26 hospitals, 56 healthcare facilities, 88 mosques and three churches,” Guterres said.

The Secretary-General in a letter to the Security Council on December 6, made the rare move to invoke the Article 99. It says the UN chief “may bring to attention of the Security Council any matter which in his opinion, may threaten the maintenance of international peace and security.”

This is the first time Guterres invoked the Article since he took office in 2017.

“The Israel-Palestine conflict has been escalating over the last two months with the humanitarian crisis aggravating despite a short-lived temporary cease-fire. The UN overall has not played its role of promoting peace due to the interference of the US, and its functions have been rendered mute,” Sun Degang, director of the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at Fudan University, told the Global Times.

Analysts urged the US to listen to the joint calls of the international community and expressed the hope that the US can coordinate with China to realize a phased ceasefire to address the unfolding humanitarian crisis.

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