UN Reform: China, South Korea question seat for Japan on Security Council

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Wednesday, March 23, 2005

UN Reform

A South Korean official expressed doubts over United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan's apparent support for a permanent Security Council seat for Japan, and attention has been drawn to widespread mistrust of Japan by Chinese — although the Chinese government has not commented directly against Japan.

Asked to comment on Annan supporting Japan gaining the seat, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Liu Jianchao said, "I think reform of the UN Security Council should have its eyes on increasing work efficiency ... and at the same increasing the representation of developing countries."

Four hundred-thousand Chinese have signed an on-line petition opposing Japan's bid, and a poll last year put opposition within China at 95 percent. Resentment still runs high after Japan's invasion of China from 1931 to 1945 led to death or injury of up to 35 million Chinese, and sexual slavery of tens- to hundreds-of-thousands of women in mainland Asia.

The UN reforms currently being discussed are the largest changes since the body's formation 60 years ago.

Last year, Japan, Germany, Brazil, and India formed a lobby group supporting each other in bids for seats on the influential Security Council. But North and South Korea oppose Japan gaining a seat, Italy opposes Germany, Pakistan opposes India, and Mexico and Argentina oppose Brazil.

The United States, Britain, France, Russia, and China are permanent members of the council, with the other 10 seats filled by other countries, selected from regional groups for two-year terms.

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