Russia & China’s Veto on Burma and Politics of Double Face (Part-I)

As it was expected, on 12th of January 2007 afternoon, the draft resolution in United Nations Security Council 5619th meeting moved by the United States and the United Kingdom to establish freedom from fear in Burma got vetoed by the Russia Federation and China – the first use of multiple vetoes at the Council since 1989, despite generating the required nine majority vote in favour for the move to initiate & establish rule of the people in ‘the Land of Pagodas’ by Belgium, France, Ghana, Italy, Panama, Peru, Slovakia, the UK and the US. (1)

However interestingly the two other nations– Qatar and Congo, which earlier voted on 15th September 2006 with Russia and China in UN Security Council to block Burma’s freedom move went for abstentions together with the new non-permanent member from ASEAN group – Indonesia. Probably this time Qatar remembered their leader Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani’s pledge, announced at the official dinner for the ministerial meeting of the 5th Asia Cooperation Dialogue on 23rd May 2006 at Doha, to initiate internal reforms, that realizes the rule of law and respect of human rights in Asia to make guiding principles of Asia wide cooperation, and Congo genuinely & bravely respecting the spirit of reconciliation enshrined in the draft resolution on Burma went for abstentions. And South Africa’s voting with Russia and China could be understood from the recent China-Africa summit held at Beijing in the first week of November 2006 and China’s growing trade ties with Africa worth $ 42 billion in 2005. (2)

Moreover, the UN Security Council was having majority votes on the issue to include it in substantive matters become helpless with the move by Russian and Chinese veto, which has been utilized by former & present champions of proletariats to suffocate democracy in Burma endorsing & assigning the freedom issue to the other UN bodies. For enlightened Russian and Chinese representative’s, now-a-days, the UN has become a platform of double speak at different occasions in its different bodies like variations of different form of Communism from Marx-Plekhanov-Lenin-Stalin-Mao Zedong to Deng Xiaoping. The double face of China at the UN could be seen from the fact that, when Chinese Ambassador, Liu Zhenmin was speaking in UN Security Council open debate on “Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict” on 04th of December 2006; shows deep concern for the lives and properties of civilians threatened in armed conflicts and appeals to international community to abide by international humanitarian law, render adequate protection to civilians, and avoid making damage to their lives and properties.(3)

But they prefer to veto on Burma’s freedom move despite official acceptance by Permanent Representative of China to the UN, H.E. Wang Guangya, that, “Undeniably, Myanmar is now faced with many challenges in political, economic and social areas, and some problems are quite serious.” (4) Most interestingly, H.E. Wang Guangya also appreciates, encourages and supports the Secretary-General’s good offices under the mandate of the General Assembly and understands rising interest and concern by international community on Burma in recent years in its official statement made on 12 January 2007 veto. (5) Probably China is very much concerned by the issue of democracy and has a very high respect to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s appeal made on 8th January 2007 to Burma’s infamous military junta, “to go beyond their first step by releasing all other political prisoners in the country, including Daw Aung San Suu Kyi,” (6) to veto Burma’s question of substantive political dialogue initiative and cease military attacks against civilians & genuine roadmap for democratic transition. For China, presently it is Kosovo which has now reached a crucial stage. It is also a very sensitive and complicated issue (Kosovo), which has direct bearing on peace and stability in the Balkans & the neighbouring regions. (7) and not the Burma. Or, does China and Russia together with South Africa wants to see more blood than Kosovo in the streets of Burma for future considerations and inclusion of Burma issue in the substantial agenda of UN Security Council rather than truly enforcing UN Secretary General (UNSG) – Mr. Ban Ki-moon’s appeal to free Daw Suu Kyi – the symbol of non-violence and freedom from fear in Burma? It is important to note that, Mr. Ban Ki-moon’s appeal to free Suu Kyi is not new one, earlier former UNSG – Mr. Kofi Annan had made constant appeal to the military junta to free her.




1. Security Council Fails To Adopt Draft Resolution on Myanmar, Owing to Negative Votes by China, Russian Federation, UN Security Council 5619th Meeting (PM), SC/8939, Department of Public Information, News and Media Division, New York, 12 January, 2007.

2. Africa-China meet means business, BBC News, Thursday, 02 November 2006, 21:16 GMT.

3. Statement by Ambassador LIU Zhenmin at the Security Council Open Debate on “Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict”, Permanent Mission of the People’s Republic of China to the United Nations, 04 December 2006.

4. Explanatory Statement by H.E. Ambassador Wang Guangya, Permanent Representative of China to the UN, on Draft Resolution on Myanmar at the Security Council, 12 January 2007.

5. Ibid.

6. Ban Ki-moon calls on Myanmar to release all political prisoners, UN News Services, UN News Centre, 8 January 2007.

7. Statement by Ambassador LIU Zhenmin at the Security Council Public Meeting on Kosovo, Permanent Mission of the People’s Republic of China to the United Nations, 13th December 2006.


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