Published: 10:32, February 21, 2024 | Updated: 18:08, February 21, 2024
Chinese envoy: Objection to Gaza ceasefire equals license to kill
By Xinhua

Zhang Jun (center), China's permanent representative to the United Nations, votes in favor of a Security Council draft resolution demanding an immediate humanitarian cease-fire in Gaza, at the UN headquarters in New York, on Feb 20, 2024. (PHOTO / XINHUA)

UNITED NATIONS - Following the US veto on a Security Council draft resolution that would have demanded an immediate humanitarian cease-fire in Gaza, a Chinese envoy said Tuesday that objection to a cease-fire in Gaza is nothing different from giving the green light to the continued slaughter.

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The draft resolution won 13 votes in favor among the 15 members of the Security Council. Britain abstained.

The veto cannot muffle the strong call for a cease-fire and an end to the war. The Security Council cannot stop its work to uphold justice and fulfill its responsibilities just because of the veto. 

Zhang Jun, China's permanent representative to the United Nations

China expresses its strong disappointment at and dissatisfaction with the US veto, said Zhang Jun, China's permanent representative to the United Nations.

Algeria, on behalf of the Arab states, put forward the draft resolution demanding an immediate cease-fire in Gaza, the immediate release of all hostages, guaranteed access to humanitarian supplies, and the rejection of forced displacement. Such a resolution, based on the minimum requirements of humanity, is urgently required by the situation on the ground and deserves the support of all Security Council members, he said in an explanation of vote after the vote.

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Algeria, demonstrating reason, sincerity, and an open attitude, held lengthy and extensive consultations with all parties on the draft resolution and took on board many constructive ideas, which made the draft resolution more balanced, he said. "The outcome of today's vote clearly shows that on the issue of a cease-fire to halt the fight in Gaza, it is not that the Security Council does not have an overwhelming consensus, but rather it is the exercise of veto by the United States that stifles the council consensus."

The US veto sends a wrong message, pushing the situation in Gaza into a more dangerous one, said Zhang.

A picture taken in Gaza City shows debris from destroyed buildings and smoke billowing in the background during Israeli bombardment on Feb 20, 2024, amid continuing battles between Israel and the Palestinian militant group Hamas. (PHOTO / AFP)

The US claim that a resolution would interfere with the ongoing diplomatic efforts is totally untenable. Given the situation on the ground, the continued passive avoidance of an immediate cease-fire is nothing different from giving the green light to the continued slaughter, he said.

While the draft resolution has been vetoed, the spillover of the conflict is destabilizing the entire Middle East region, leading to rising risks of a wider war. Only by extinguishing the flames of war in Gaza can the world prevent the fires of hell from engulfing the entire region. The Security Council must act quickly to stop this carnage, said Zhang.

READ MORE: 26 EU nations urge 'immediate humanitarian pause' in Gaza

The Security Council must take action to push for a cease-fire. This should not be a matter of debate, but rather a moral obligation that the council cannot shy away from. It is a legal responsibility that the council must assume. Even more so, this is a political requirement that the council must fulfill in accordance with the UN Charter, he said.

Palestinians carry the bodies killed in the Israeli bombardment of the Gaza Strip at Al Aqsa Hospital in Deir al Balah on Feb 20, 2024. (PHOTO / AP)

"The veto cannot muffle the strong call for a cease-fire and an end to the war. The Security Council cannot stop its work to uphold justice and fulfill its responsibilities just because of the veto," he said.

READ MORE: Gaza toll nears 29,000; Israel raids refugee camp in West Bank

China urges Israel to heed the call of the international community, abandon its plans for a Rafah offensive, and stop the collective punishment of the people of Palestine. China expects countries with significant influence to have fewer political calculations, but rather to be truly impartial and responsible, and to make the right choice to push for a cease-fire in Gaza. 

China calls on the international community to pool all diplomatic efforts to give the people of Gaza a chance to survive, give the people of the entire Middle East region a chance to have peace, and give it a chance for justice to be upheld, said Zhang.