BEIJING: China on Thursday announced its backing for United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres who is seeking a second five-year term as the chief of the world body.
Guterres, 71, whose current term ends on December 31, in a letter to General Assembly President Volkan Bozkir has expressed his wish to continue for another five years, Chinese official media here reported.
"I am available to serve a second term as the Secretary-General of the United Nations, if that will be the will of member states," Guterres said in a letter to Bozkir.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying told a media briefing here that since Guterres took office as the Secretary-General, he has led the UN to play an active role in maintaining world peace and security, promoting sustainable development and pushing forward international cooperation in combating the pandemic, asserting that China highly appreciates it.
"China believes that Guterres is a suitable candidate for the next secretary-general.
We are ready to work with the international community to continue to support the work of the United Nations and Guterres, to jointly promote the cause of world peace and development and to build a community with a shared future for mankind," she added.
Guterres, the ninth Secretary-General of the United Nations, took office on January 1, 2017.
Prior to his appointment as Secretary-General, Guterres served as United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) from June 2005 to December 2015, heading one of the world's foremost humanitarian organisations during some of the most serious displacement crises in decades.
Before joining UNHCR, Guterres spent more than 20 years in government and public service.
He served as prime minister of Portugal from 1995 to 2002, during which time he was heavily involved in the international effort to resolve the crisis in East Timor.
Born in Lisbon in 1949, Guterres graduated from the Instituto Superior Tecnico with a degree in engineering.
He is fluent in Portuguese, English, French and Spanish.