The UN is to celebrate its 65th anniversary on October 24. As a founding member of the UN in 1945 and, as one of the five permanent members of the Security Council, China's role in the world body has steadily evolved.
During the first years after reclaiming its lawful UN seat in 1971, the People's Republic of China regarded the international forum solely as a platform to introduce to the world China's viewpoints and stances on major international issues, as well as its diplomatic policies. China did not vote on most issues, refused foreign assistance and regarded the UN peacekeeping mission as the tool of big powers interfering in and manipulating small countries. All these gave the international community the impression China was detached about global affairs.
Changes took place from the time the policy of reform and opening up was introduced in China. In the 1980s, the country started to accept aid from the UN and its agencies such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. China and the World Bank celebrated the 30 anniversary of their cooperation and achievements on September 13.
In 1989, China realized the positive nature of the UN's peacekeeping operations and engaged in its international peacekeeping efforts. During the past two decades, China has sent 15,603 peacekeeping soldiers on 18 UN peacekeeping missions. Now, China is one of the most important contributors of peacekeeping troops for the UN and also, of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, contributes the largest number.
In the new century, both the UN and China have undergone significant changes. As the world today is very different from what it was when the UN was founded, the UN must respond to new challenges. China's national strength has grown and its influence is expanding beyond its borders.
In these new circumstances, China has been increasingly active in taking part in UN operations and playing a greater role in dealing with threats and challenges to world peace and security, especially in the fields of climate change, peacekeeping, poverty relief and antiterrorism. With its unremitting efforts in its UN role, China, as a responsible big country, is destined to make a yet greater contribution to the UN and the international community.