China on Wednesday assumed the rotating presidency of the United Nations Security Council for November with a focus on the situation in Palestine and Israel.
The situation in Palestine and Israel tops the Security Council's agenda in November, said Zhang Jun, China's permanent representative to the UN.
"It is imperative to promote a cease-fire and halt the fighting, prevent further civilian casualties, prevent a larger-scale humanitarian disaster and prevent the conflict from spilling over," he told reporters at a news briefing on the work of China's presidency of the Security Council.
The presidency for this month comes as the Security Council faces criticism for its perceived slow response to the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
The official Palestinian news agency WAFA reports 8,382 Palestinian casualties from Israeli attacks in Gaza, while more than 1,400 people in Israel lost their lives, the vast majority in the Hamas attack on Oct 7.
"As the rotating president of the Security Council, China will respond to the calls of the international community and work with all parties concerned to promote responsible and meaningful collective action by the council in a timely manner," Zhang said.
Zhang emphasized that, based on the current situation and tasks facing the Security Council and the expectations of all parties, China will "push the Security Council to take action, fulfill its responsibilities under the UN Charter, demonstrate its commitment, promote the easing of tensions, and support diplomatic efforts".
"We should urge the Council to focus on the root causes, look at the complex problem of the intertwining of the development deficit and the security deficit, and explore ways to solve it from a broader perspective," he said.
"We should push the Security Council to improve its working methods, strengthen unity and cooperation, enhance its authority and efficiency, and respond more effectively to the current complex situation," said Zhang.
The Security Council in November will also consider issues including Syria, Yemen and Bosnia and Herzegovina; take action on the UN Assistance Mission in the Sudan, the UN Mission in the Central African Republic, and the extension of the authorization of sanctions measures for Somalia; and hold its annual regular dialogue with the commissioner of Peacekeeping Police, according to Zhang.
The presidency of the Security Council rotates among the 15 member states of the council monthly. China last held the rotating Security Council presidency in August 2022.