By Luo Zheng
BEIJING, Sep. 4 (ChinaMil) -- "Chinese President Xi Jinping pointed out that China is willing to play a constructive role in promoting peace and stability in Africa and support African countries to strengthen their own capability to maintain peace and stability when he gave his keynote speech at the opening ceremony of the 2018 Beijing Summit of the Forum on China–Africa Cooperation (FOCAC)," said the head of the Peacekeeping Affairs Center of China's Ministry of National Defense during an exclusive interview with the PLA Daily reporter amid FOCAC.
During the 28 years' participation in UN peacekeeping operations, the Chinese military has actively fulfilled its responsibility as a major power, firmly promoted peacekeeping capacity building, and made great contributions to maintaining world peace, especially peace in Africa, the head added.
"Chinese President Xi pointed out that China would increase assistance to Africa during the UN Peacekeeping Summit in New York in September 2015. In recent years, the Chinese military has actively participated in UN peacekeeping operations in Africa and sent various types of peacekeeping troops to Africa," said the head.
The head added that China sent its first batch of peacekeeping troops to Mali in 2013, and the peacekeeping force consisted of engineer, medical and guard detachments, among which the guard detachment was the first peacekeeping guard detachment dispatched by China. In 2015, China sent a 700-person peacekeeping infantry battalion to South Sudan, which was the first time for China to send an institutionalized peacekeeping infantry battalion to participate in UN peacekeeping operations. In 2017, China sent its first peacekeeping helicopter detachment to Darfur, Sudan to provide important support for UN peacekeeping operations in the region.
Since 1990, the Chinese military has sent troops to participate in 24 UN peacekeeping operations successively and 16 of them were in Africa. During 28 years' participation in the UN peacekeeping operations, 13 Chinese service members lost their lives on the peacekeeping frontline and 8 of them died in Africa. At present, 2,081 Chinese service members are carrying out peacekeeping missions in Africa, accounting for 82.9 percent of the total number of overseas Chinese peacekeepers.
According to data provided by the Peacekeeping Affairs Center of China's Ministry of National Defense, since its participation in UN peacekeeping operations 28 years ago, China's peacekeepers have built and repaired more than 14,000 kilometers of roads, and removed more than 9,800 landmines and various types of unexploded ordnance. Chinese peacekeepers also have treated more than 200,000 patients and transported 1.35 million tons of various materials and equipment, with the total transportation mileage reaching 13 million kilometers. A large part of these achievements were made in Africa.
At present, China has the largest number of peacekeepers among the permanent members of the UN Security Council. China is also the second largest contributor to UN peacekeeping operations and has been hailed as a "key factor and force of peacekeeping missions” by the UN.
The head of the Peacekeeping Affairs Center of China's Ministry of National Defense said that China has always been a builder of world peace, a contributor to global development, and a defender of the international order. In the future, more Chinese service members will join the great peacekeeping cause to contribute to maintaining world peace especially in Africa, and to set an example for building a closer community of shared future for China and Africa and promoting to build a community of shared future for mankind.