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Statement by Amb. Zhang Jun at the Security Council Debate of "Peace and Security in Africa: Mobilizing the Youth towards Silencing the Guns by 2020"

2019/10/02

Mr President,

We congratulate South Africa on assuming the rotating presidency of the Security Council this month and affirm our full support for your work. We also congratulate Russia on the successful completion of the Council presidency in September.

China thanks South Africa for its initiative to hold this open meeting. We have listened carefully to the briefings by Ms. Bience Gawanas, Special Adviser on Africa to the Secretary-General, Ms. Aya Chebbi, AU Special Envoy on Youth and the Civil Society representatives.

As the hope of a nation and the future of the world, youth represent a valuable factor in promoting socio-economic development and an important force in safeguarding world peace.

Chairman Mao Zedong, the founder of New China, once said to young people: "You, young people, full of vigor and vitality, are like the sun at eight or nine o'clock in the morning. Our hope is placed upon you."

The late South African President Nelson Mandela also compared youth to the greatest asset of a nation.

Africa is the continent with the youngest population. Young people are actively involved in nation building, playing an important role in the revitalization of Africa. They work hard for peace, making their contribution to deliver the Silencing the Guns by 2020 Initiative and implement the 2063 Agenda with their concrete actions.

Affected by armed conflicts and backward development, young people also face the predicament of being marginalized. They are confronted with challenges such as poverty and unemployment.

To promote peace, security and development in Africa, we need to support and nurture the young people as they grow up.

Addressing differences through consultation. Africa has the good tradition of using negotiations and consultations. Regional and subregional organizations on the continent also have accumulated successful experience in good offices. China always supports African countries in finding African solutions to African problems. To advance the

political settlement of hot-spot issues, it is necessary to give adequate consideration to the factors relevant to young people, ensure their constructive participation in the process, listen to the views expressed by a wide spectrum of the young population, fully leverage the youth advantage and forge the strong synergy for peace.

Promoting culture for Peace. Peace embodies the common aspiration across various different cultures. It is important to mobilize the people around the world, youth in particular, to embrace the idea that "peace is of supreme value" and the notion of "harmony in diversity". On the basis of mutual respect among different cultures, we advocate strengthening mutual exchanges, fostering mutual trust, expanding cooperation, and seeking a win-win outcome so as to gradually blaze a new trial to promote culture for peace.

Pursuing peace through development. Development is the foundation for building peace and maintaining sustainable peace. It is imperative to put economic and social development at the forefront and support countries in choosing independently their development paths. China stands ready to closely coordinate the joint implementation of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) with the AU 2063 Agenda, the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the development strategies of African countries in order to help African countries increase inter-connectivity, build their development capabilities and eliminate the root causes of conflicts.

It is essential to be action-driven. Empty rhetoric is no solution to any problem. We must provide tangible assistance to the youth in Africa.

At the 2018 Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC), China decided to set up 10 Luban Workshops with its African partners to provide vocational training for young Africans, the first of which was already established and opened in Djibouti.

We support the opening of a China-Africa Innovation Cooperation Center to promote youth innovation and entrepreneurship. A tailor-made program is being carried out to train 1,000 high-caliber African professionals. We will provide Africa with 50,000 government-sponsored scholarships and 50,000 training opportunities for seminars and workshops. And we will invite 2,000 young Africans to visit China for exchanges. We will train young researchers in agri-science and entrepreneurs in agri-business.

These projects will support youth development in Africa and make a contribution towards Silencing the Guns.

China and Africa are good brothers, good friends and good partners. The vision of sincerity, real results, affinity and good faith and the principle of pursuing the greater good and shared interests, as put forth by Chinese President Xi Jinping, guide China's Africa policy. China supports the African initiative of Silencing the Guns by 2020. Under the framework of Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC), China and Africa are joining hands and working together to assume our joint responsibility and pursue win-win cooperation to build a China-Africa community with a shared future that delivers happiness to all, that enjoys cultural prosperity and common security and that promotes harmony between man and nature.

We will continue to make concerted efforts with our African brothers to promote the comprehensive youth development, making important contribution to the promotion of peace and development in Africa.

I thank you Mr. President.

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