[FOUNTAIN]‘Coffee club’ can’t stop Japan’s plans for UN

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[FOUNTAIN]‘Coffee club’ can’t stop Japan’s plans for UN

The so-called G-4 nations hoping to secure permanent seats at the UN Security Council ― Japan, Germany, India and Brazil ― are considering making their move in May or June. Having declared on March 31 that they would introduce a resolution around this time, they are rallying member countries to expand their influence. Some 165 nations sent delegates to a UN Reform Conference hosted by Japan.
The opposing camp is acting fast, too. South Korea, Italy and Spain, the key members of the so-called “coffee club,” boasted their power by bringing together 116 countries, opposing the expansion of the undemocratically operated UN Security Council.
But the contest is likely to end in victory for the G-4. For a resolution to pass the General Assembly, two thirds of the members, or 128 countries, must consent. By one reliable estimate, the G-4 has the support of 110 nations, thanks to the influence of Japan and Germany.
In 2003 alone, Germany and Japan contributed $6.7 billion and $8.9 billion, respectively, in Official Development Assistance ―enough to provide every underdeveloped UN member country with more than $100 million. Indeed, the contributions are mainly used for poverty-ridden countries in Africa and Asia.
Japan, for example, pays for one fourth of a Sudanese reconstruction project, contributing $100 million. Every year, Japan hosts the International Conference on African Development, and supports anti-AIDS drives and projects to support developing IT industries. Japan has been making such efforts for 10 years. Germany makes similar contributions. Both ask aid recipients to support their resolution and signal that refusal would mean an end to aid.
The G-4 reform proposal has its justifications. It would add six more permanent seats to the Security Council, with two each going to Asian and African countries. Fifty-three African and poor Asian countries, naturally, favor this. Because their argument has both the interest and cause appealing to them, it would be hard for the “coffee club” to stop the resolution.
Though the resolution does not guarantee them permanent seats, passage would be considered a victory for the G-4 nations. Koreans would criticize the government for allowing Japan to become a permanent member. Lacking the ability to make big contributions to the UN, Korea’s defeat is inevitable. But the Foreign Affairs Ministry is already afraid of the criticism.


by Ahn Sung-kyoo

The writer is a deputy political news editor at the JoongAng Ilbo.
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