But it is unlikely to oppose India's bid when the process comes to vote
While China was not in favour of a move by the G4 group of nations — India, Brazil, Germany and Japan — to push for a concrete outcome on United Nations Security Council reforms in the current General Assembly session, it is unlikely to oppose India's bid when the reforms process comes to a vote, according to analysts and officials here.
On Friday, the G4 members called for “a concrete outcome” before the end of the current session in September, saying they would take steps “to achieve at the earliest an expansion in both the permanent and non-permanent membership categories of the Security Council.”
Responding to the G4's statement, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said that “forcing premature plans” would “undermine the unity of UN member states” and harm the reforms process. China believed there were still “sharp differences over major issues.”
China's response also made it clear that it was opposed to any move in the current session. The statement from Foreign Ministry spokesperson Ma Zhaoxu said China advocated “extensive and democratic consultation” for a “package of solutions.”
Indian officials have called on China to express more support both for India's bid and for accelerating the long-drawn-out reforms process, which has made little headway in recent decades.
Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao said in a speech in New York last week that China was “not expressing itself openly on India's candidacy.” She, however, hoped “Beijing would not block India from getting a seat when the matter came to a vote,” PTI reported.
While China is the only one of five permanent members (P5) of the UNSC yet to endorse India's bid, analysts and officials here say China is unlikely to vote against India — and isolate itself among the P5 — when the process eventually comes to a vote. China is, however, in favour of delaying the reforms process, as well as likely to oppose the candidature of another member of the G4 group — Japan.
“China does not oppose Indian membership to the UNSC,” Zhao Gancheng, director of South Asia Studies at the Shanghai Institute for International Studies, told The Hindu. “But Japan is a different case. There is strong opposition from the Chinese public against Japan for many reasons,” like the Japanese invasion and occupation of the 1930s that left a history of tensions.
“In my understanding, China's position is that we would be happy to see India being successful [in its bid] as a very large developing country and as an important neighbour,” he said. But China believed there were “many issues unresolved” and “no consensus in the international community.” “Even countries like Argentina, Italy, Pakistan and African nations have their own interests and are raising their own issues,” he said.
“Many countries want to join the council as it in a way says something about their political status,” added Wu Miaofa, a former counsellor with the Chinese Permanent Mission to the U.N. “Though that is understandable, the process should be made with democratic consultations. If they want to force their way in, then it will probably end in a failure,” he told the official China Daily.
In the past, China has expressed concern at the growing momentum for reforms, according to United States Embassy cables leaked by the whistleblower website WikiLeaks. In a cable from April 2009, the then Vice-Foreign Minister, He Yafei, reportedly told U.S. officials that China was concerned by the “building momentum” for the UNSC reforms, and did not want the P5 club to be “diluted.” An expanded “P10,” he reportedly said, would put China and the U.S. “in trouble.”