Wang, Kerry meet second time

Updated: 2013-09-27 12:46

By Zhang Yuwei in New York (China Daily)

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Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi met with US Secretary of State John Kerry on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly on Thursday in New York - for the second time during Wang's current trip to the US - for discussions on issues including Syria.

Wang praised the efforts different nations have made to the "obvious progress" in the consultations within the UN Security Council on solving the Syrian crisis. Wang said China appreciates the unity and flexibility council members have shown during the process and calls for council members to seek a political settlement of the Syria chemical arms issue.

China will continue to play a "constructive role" on Syria, said the foreign minister.

In a briefing after the one-hour breakfast meeting, a senior official from the US State Department said they had "covered a lot of ground".

Wang and Kerry talked about issues of Syria, Iran, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, and the South China Sea, as well as human rights and issues relating to Americans and American interests in China, said the official.

The senior official noted that both ministers were in "strong agreement" on the need for a mandatory and binding UN Security Council resolution.

"They discussed the value of unity among the P-5 (five permanent members of the Council), and both felt it is important for the Council to act quickly and for OPCW (Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons) to similarly act quickly," said the official, adding the two also discussed issues about Iran.

Also on Thursday, the US and Russia submitted a landmark resolution on the ridding of Syria's chemical weapons to the UN Security Council, ending weeks of impasse on the Syrian issue. The Council held a closed-door consultation following the submission Thursday evening. No vote, however, was expected during that meeting.

A major compass between Russia and Western powers was whether the resolution would be under Chapter 7 of the UN Charter, which allows the Council to impose measures like sanctions or military intervention.

The proposed draft resolution - seen by Reuters - is reported to make the measure legally binding but provides for no means of automatic enforcement with sanctions or military force, according to Reuters. Western powers with P-5 Council seats - the US, the UK and France - had wanted the resolution to state explicitly that the resolution was under Chapter 7.

The Council resolution is reportedly to be the efforts of foreign ministers' meeting on Wednesday where the five permanent members on the Council agreed on the core of a UN resolution on the use of chemical weapons in Syria.

A senior State Department official called the agreement on the text of a UN Security Council resolution on Syria "a breakthrough arrived at through hard-fought diplomacy".

Jon Taylor, a professor of political science at the University of St. Thomas in Houston, said Wang's US trip has been "productive".

"It's emblematic of China's push for soft power through its status as a permanent member of the Security Council, with Wang emphasizing China's role in pursing productive and constructive assistance on Syria, as well as issues related to improved multilateral relations, global development, nuclear issues in the DPRK and Iran, and sustainability," said Taylor.

Wang kicked off his New York visit on Saturday from Washington and he has met his counterparts from nations including Egypt, Namibia, South Sudan, South Africa, France and Russia on the sidelines of the 68th UN General Assembly, where he is set to speak at the General Debate on Friday afternoon.

"I would expect a speech that emphasizes China's new leadership's foreign policy goals and initiatives," said Taylor.

"In particular, I suspect that Wang's speech will emphasize China's new role in a multi-polar world - a Chinese Dream for the world - that will likely discuss the role that China can and will play in peacekeeping and economic development," Taylor added.

(China Daily USA 09/27/2013 page1)