China has sent its most senior official in recent years to a gathering of the Group of 77 as Beijing presses ahead with its bid to have a bigger say in global institutions.
“[We should] adhere to the original intention of being independent, self-reliant and uniting for our own strength, uphold common values for all humanity, and firmly [stand] against group confrontation and a cold war mentality,” state news agency Xinhua quoted Li as saying.
“[We should] actively and resoundingly speak up in important international platforms to preside fairness and promote the UN agendas aligning with developing countries’ development interest, and urge developed countries to fulfil their development aid commitments and expand the voice and representation of developing countries.”
The G77 is a group of more than 130 countries within the United Nations formed to promote the economic interests of developing nations.
It includes a number of member countries targeted by US sanctions, including Iran and Cuba. China is not an official member.
Li also said that no matter how developed it became, China would always be part of the Global South.
UN secretary general Antonio Guterres appealed to the group to “fight for a world that works for all”.
“I count on your group, who have long been champions of multilateralism, to step up, to use your power, and fight: champion a system rooted in equality; champion a system ready to reverse the injustice and neglect of centuries,” Guterres said.
The group was formed in 1964 and Cuba took over its rotating presidency in January.
At the opening ceremony on Friday, Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel said: “After all this time that the North has organised the world according to its interests, it is now up to the South to change the rules of the game.”
Cuba’s ambassador to China, Alberto Blanco Silva, said on Wednesday that China had been playing a “stabilising and balancing” role as the world transitioned to a new “order”.
After visiting Cuba, Li will also make stops in Brazil and Egypt.