‘Illegal, immoral’: Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong calls on China to help end war in Ukraine | SBS News

Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong used a speech at the United Nations General Assembly to call on China to use its influence over Russia and end the war in Ukraine.
Senator Wong denounced Russia’s invasion of its neighbor as “illegal, immoral” and said the invasion of Ukraine could not be normalized or minimized.

“Russia’s attack on Ukraine is an attack on all small countries,” she told the New York assembly on Saturday.

“It is therefore particularly important that countries that play a leading role in international forums and countries that have influence over Russia exert their influence to end this war.
“In this, the world looks to China, a great power, a permanent member of the Security Council with a boundless partnership with Russia.”

Senator Wong’s comments came a day after she met with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on the sidelines of the assembly, during which he raised Beijing’s lack of condemnation of Russia’s actions.

Penny Wong criticizes Russia’s use of UN veto power

Senator Wong also denounced – without directly naming Russia – its use of its right of veto in the UN Security Council, to allow “uncontrolled abuse of the UN Charter”.
“The death and destruction in Ukraine reminds us all how much we have to lose if we fail to protect the Charter of the United Nations,” she said.

“…We cannot be passive when great powers flout the rules.”

Senator Wong said Australia would also push for the UN Security Council to make room for other “small and medium” countries in Africa, Latin America and Asia.
The council currently comprises five permanent member states with veto power – China, Russia, France, the United Kingdom and the United States – and 10 non-permanent members, five of whom are elected each year by the General Assembly for a two-year term.

Australia is also seeking to serve on the council for two years from 2029 to 2030.

War near Australia would be ‘catastrophic’

She said the conflict in Ukraine served as a warning about the risk and cost of potential conflict erupting in the Indo-Pacific region.
“It would be catastrophic for our people and our prosperity,” she said.

“With the centrality of the Indo-Pacific to global prosperity and security, the cost would extend far beyond our region and touch every life.”

She announced $374 million in development assistance for countries in Southeast Asia, adding that a strategy is being developed to improve economic engagement between Australia and countries in the region. .

“Australia is looking for deeper engagement with Southeast Asia. It’s a region I know well. It’s the region where I come from,” Malaysian-born Ms Wong said. who is Australia’s first foreign-born foreign minister.

“Part of the Pacific Family”

Ms Wong said Australia was committed to taking action on climate change and fostering closer ties with Pacific island nations.

She said foreign aid to the Pacific had increased by more than half a billion dollars and Australia was committed to implementing the 2050 strategy developed by Pacific nations.

She also spoke of her visits to six Pacific Islands Forum countries after only six months of work.
“It is a clear sign of our priorities that by the end of this year I will have visited almost all of them,” she said.
Minister Wong also announced a doubling of foreign aid funding for Palestinian refugees with a doubling of aid to $20 million this fiscal year for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees. .

Former Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr welcomed the announcement.

Senator Wong also attended a meeting of foreign ministers from the four-nation alliance comprising the United States, Australia, India and Japan.

The ministers signed the Quad guidelines – announced in May – on humanitarian aid and disaster relief.