GLOBAL TIMES – The Committee on Science and Technology for Development (CSTD) has been working diligently on the issues of promoting science, technology, and ensuring food security. However, the significant absence of China in the discussions of the CSTD has caused a palpable level of disappointment from members of the Committee.
The overall tone of the Committee demonstrated a hushed concern on the lack of Chinese participation. Several Committee members, most of whom were developing countries, showed a particular disappointment that Chinese leadership was absent on the issues of science, technology, and food security.
There was a vocal minority of attending delegates within the Committee that was either unaware or indifferent to China’s missing attendance. When asked, Cuba’s representative stated that it did not notice that China was even absent at all. When asked for comment, the Ugandan delegation simply dismissed the question of China’s presence or absence. This contrasted with the Nigerian delegation, who was aware of China’s absence but stated “the committee has made significant progress with the members currently present.” This sentiment was shared by Peru who refused to comment further.
However, such opinions were held by a significant minority of Committee members. Committee members continually stressed that China’s friendly relations with developing states, coupled with its expertise in international development, would have provided a refreshing perspective on food security solutions.
On the issue of genetically modified crops, several delegates expressed concerns over the introduction of bioengineered organisms in local food supplies. Considering China’s own concerns with bioengineered organisms, some Committee members argue that China could have served as a mediator between developed and developing states on this particular issue.
China has been lauded as a leader in science and technology in recent decades, specifically in fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. On June 1, 2017, President Xi reaffirmed China’s role as a world leader of science and innovation by announcing increased state funding for scientific research in aerospace, healthcare, transportation, and cyberspace. At the opening ceremony of the 19th Party Congress, President Xi declared that “[China] will strengthen basic research in applied sciences, launch major national science and technology projects and prioritize innovation in key technologies,” reaffirming China’s global leadership in the STEM fields. This shows the positive role that Chinese research will have on the international community.
With such factors taken into account, the invaluable perspective that China could have contributed to the CSTD is deeply missed.