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China expands its role in UN peacekeeping

Reporter: Tang Bo 丨 CCTV.com

08-01-2016 14:30 BJT

As China's national strength increases, it is assuming a greater role within the UN framework. The Chinese military has become more active on the world stage, participating in UN peacekeeping missions to maintain world and regional stability.

Violent clashes in South Sudan killed two Chinese UN peacekeepers in July.

Another Chinese peacekeeper died in May in an attack on a UN camp in Mali.

The three deaths highlight the increasing risks faced by Chinese peacekeeping troops.

China’s defense ministry says it has taken measures to protect Chinese peacekeepers in the future. But that won’t change China’s participation in UN peacekeeping operations.

“China will steadfastly support and participate in UN peacekeeping operations, continue to fulfill the obligations of a responsible power, so as to make contributions to world peace,” said Yang Yujun, spokesperson of National Defense Ministry.

Today, China is the second largest financial contributor to UN peacekeeping.

It has dispatched the largest number of peacekeepers among the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, with more than 3,000 Chinese taking part in more than 20 peacekeeping missions.

“Before the opening-up policy, China was actually quite against UN peacekeeping operations, believing this was a way of interfering in other countries' domestic affairs. Now that's changed and China is more willing to integrate to the world and take part in peacekeeping services,” said Teng Jianqun, research fellow of China Institute of International Studies.

The Chinese role has shifted from noncombat personnel like engineers and medics to infantry and other combat units.

China has pledged up to 8,000 personnel to UN peacekeeping missions.

“Besides the change of mind, China is now capable of dispatching peacekeeping troops. We have sent warships to the Gulf of Aden for escort operations, which was unimaginable back in the 1980s,” Teng said.

Experts say President Xi’s pledge, if fully implemented, will serve as a much needed boost for UN peace operations. More importantly, China can play a very valuable role by contributing well-trained, disciplined peacekeepers, and increasing the expertise available for UN peace keeping operations.

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