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China warns of abuse of UN agreement on genocide intervention

[JURIST] China [JURIST news archive] has warned the UN against abusing a new international right to intervene to protect those threatened by genocide or war crimes agreed to last week [JURIST report] at a UN summit. Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing [official profile] in a speech [PDF text] before the UN General Assembly [official website] said that the right to intervene remains subject to UN Security Council authorization, warning that "We are against any willful intervention on the ground of rash conclusion that a nation is unable or unwilling to protect its own citizens." As a permanent member of the Security Council, China holds one of the vetoes and has been largely responsible for the slow progress in addressing war crimes in the Darfur [JURIST news archive] region of Sudan. As part of a group of principles agreed to at the summit, member states agreed to a "responsibility to protect" civilians where their government has failed to do so. The provision was approved to address the UN's past failures to intervene in Rwanda, Bosnia and Kosovo to halt ethnic cleansing. Li also said that China opposed revising the definition of self defense to clarify when pre-emptive action may be used against threats such as terrorism or nuclear proliferation. UN Secretary General Kofi Annan advocated such a revision at last week's reform summit [JURIST news archive], but the US blocked the effort. AP has more.

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