Visitors play at Tian’anmen square in Beijing on Monday. The square will host a military parade on Thursday to mark the 70th anniversary of victory in WWII.[ZOU HONG/CHINA DAILY]

Ban Ki-moon says history provides lessons in moving to a ‘brighter future’

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will attend the V-Day ceremonies in Beijing on Sept 3 during a five-day visit starting on Wednesday.

The event provides an important opportunity for the international community to review history and look forward to building a better world, the UN chief said in an interview with Chinese media at the UN headquarters in New York on Friday.

This will be Ban’s ninth visit to China in nine years in his post.

Ban said it was important to remember the past in order to “move ahead to a brighter future based on the lessons learned. That is the main purpose of my visit to China, at the invitation of President Xi Jinping”.

“China’s contributions and sacrifices during World War II are very much recognized and appreciated … by the world’s people,” Ban said. “And on the brighter future, China has a very important role to play. As the second-largest economy and a peace-loving country, there is a lot that China can contribute to this rapidly changing and transformative age.”

Thirty heads of state, including Russian President Vladimir Putin and South Korean President Park Geun-hye, will attend ceremonies marking the victory in the War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression (1937-45), according to China’s Foreign Ministry.

During his visit to China, Ban also is expected to meet with Chinese leaders to discuss a wide range of issues, including climate change, the 70th anniversary of the UN’s founding, and the upcoming UN sustainable development summit in September.

Ahead of Xi’s first state visit to the US and to the UN General Assembly, Ban said he most “warmly welcomes” the president and believes he will “send out a strong message of hope” to the people of the world.

“The whole world’s leaders and people will look to him,” Ban said.

The 193 member states of the UN reached agreement in August on a new development agenda for the next 15 years. The draft agreement, which outlines 17 goals, is expected to be adopted at the September summit.

The UN chief is urging member states to include these goals in their own development strategies. “I am convinced that China can play a hugely important role in helping these sustainable development goals be implemented,” Ban said.

On China’s role at the UN, the secretary-general said he expects China’s continued cooperation in peacekeeping operations and help with leading developing countries on climate change and other global issues.

“We also hope that China will always work with member states, as it has a very important role as one of the permanent members of the Security Council for maintaining peace and stability of the world,” Ban said.

UN member countries also will meet in Paris in December to determine a universal agreement on countering climate change. This year is a “truly momentous year for the world”, Ban said.

“Climate change is one of the top global agendas,” he said. “We do not have much time to lose. We have to take urgent action. That is why climate change is one of the three top priorities for the international community to take action on this year.”

“In December in Paris, we must have a universal, meaningful climate change agreement,” Ban said. “China has already taken hugely important global championing leadership. Together with the United States, last year it made a historic, huge-impact-giving statement. I sincerely hope that President Xi Jinping and the Chinese government will lead this campaign,” he said.

Ban commended China for taking domestic action to limit carbon emissions, saying that these are “wise measures” for the country’s economic and environmental progress.

The secretary-general also said he hopes Xi and US President Barack Obama will take a leadership role at the Paris climate change talks. This is a key area of discussion with Xi during his Beijing trip, he said.

Contact the writers at amyhe@chinadailyusa.com, wanglinyan@chinadailyusa.com