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We Will Also Have Veto Rights?

Posted May. 17, 2005 22:45,   


The so-called “G4”--Japan, Germany, India, and Brazil--distributed a resolution draft to enlarge the number of permanent members in the U.N. Security Council yesterday. The resolution draft that they distributed yesterday was the “first step proposal” which suggests increasing the number of permanent seats from the current five to 11 without clearly stating the names of the nations.

In particular, the G4’s resolution draft states that new permanent members would “have equal responsibilities and obligations as the existing members.” In other words, it signifies that the new permanent members would also be entitled to the veto rights that the United States, Britain, France, Russia, and China currently possess.

Regarding the veto right issue, the dissenting position of the U.S. is clear. The New York Times reported that the U.S. notified the G4 that it will not “support [their] advance to permanent membership unless [they] make their position renouncing veto rights clear,” reasoning that new members with veto rights would make the Security Council dysfunctional.

Nevertheless, whether this problem will become a major issue of contention is yet to be known. It is because the G4 has already elucidated that “veto rights issue should not be a hindrance to the Security Council reform,” while the existing permanent members are opposed to granting it to prospective permanent members.

U.N. sources forecasted that “it is highly likely that the veto article in the G4’s resolution proposal will be revised.”

It seems likely that the G4 will put their resolution proposal to a vote in the General Assembly in June after making partial revisions once they become confident that they have acquired the assent of 128 or more nations, which is the number of votes necessary to pass the resolution among the U.N.’s 191 member nations.

Meanwhile, Chinese State Councilor Tang Jiaxuan stressed to Indonesian Special Envoy for U.N. Reforms Ali Alatas, who visited China on May 16, that the “U.N. reform issue should be promoted through consultation and far-reaching agreements” and pointed out that the lack of consensus among U.N. members may pose an obstacle to U.N. reforms. Tang’s comment, of course, has to do with U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s organizational reform plan, but it seems to be a re-emphasis of the Chinese government’s stance against the G4’s resolution proposal.

Kwon-Heui Hong konihong@donga.com