The Economist on expanding the UN Security Council

Japan, India and Brazil are natural candidates

The Economist’s leader on the rising tensions between China and Japan weighs in strongly in favour of Japan’s inclusion in an expanded UN Security Council.

There should be no enlarged Security Council without Japan: If permanent membership of the council is to be enlarged, as Kofi Annan, the UN’s secretary-general, says he would like it to be, Japan (along with India and Brazil) is a natural candidate by dint of population, standing and economic power. Germany has a strong case, too, though one complicated by the fact that the European Union would then have three permanent members. A case can also be made for a large African country such as South Africa or Nigeria, and perhaps an Arab one, such as Egypt. But what is absolutely plain is that to add India, Brazil, Nigeria, South Africa or Egypt but to exclude Japan would not only constitute an egregious insult to the Japanese but also make a nonsense of the whole exercise.

Don’t call the whole thing off

In which case, should the exercise be abandoned? That might be convenient to some. Countries such as Italy and Pakistan, dismayed by the prospect of neighbours and rivals taking places at the top table, are already complaining. Although America pays lip service to enlargement, it might welcome an excuse to stick with the present system—and China’s exclusion of Japan would certainly provide one. But what a pity that would be. The UN system will never be perfect, but it can be improved to reflect the world more as it is today, not as it was at the end of the second world war more than half a century ago. The Japanese belong in an enlarged Security Council—not least so the Chinese come to understand that they cannot have everything their way in East Asia’s future. [The Economist]

Related Link: Sepoy over at Chapati Mystery believes that India fully deserves a place at the ‘grown-up table’.

Update: The journalist who asked Wen the question writes in to clarify that China has indeed agreed to support India’s candidature.

2 thoughts on “The Economist on expanding the UN Security Council”

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  2. I agree with The Economist that Japan should be included in any expansion of the Security Council; for not only for having one of the biggest economies in the world, but by the mere fact that it is the second biggest contributor, behind the United States, to the United Nations.

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