BEIJING, Sept. 22 -- The newly released white paper, titled “China’s Armed Forces: 30 Years of UN Peacekeeping Operations”, mentioned a series of important achievements China has made in fulfilling related commitments over the past five years.
Senior Colonel Cai Hui, an associate professor with the School of International Relations of the National University of Defense Technology and a senior instructor with the Center for Peacekeeping Affairs under the Ministry of National Defense (MND), summarized “six highlights” regarding the participation of the Chinese armed forces in the United Nations peacekeeping operations (UNPKOs) in an interview last Friday.
“Over the past five years, the composition of China’s peacekeeping forces has expanded from a single service to multiple services and arms, their missions have transformed from mere logistics support to comprehensive multi-function, and the operational objectives extended from stopping armed conflicts to building lasting peace. In all, their peacekeeping capabilities have been further improved”, stated Senior Colonel Cai Hui.
China has completed the establishment of an 8,000-troop peacekeeping standby force. Rapid deployment of peacekeeping forces means greater opportunities to maintain peace and protect life. China fully supports the UN in developing the Peacekeeping Capability Readiness System (PCRS) and reinforcing peacekeeping operations rapid deployment capacity. At present, China has completed the registration of a UN peacekeeping standby force with 8,000 troops, which has 28 units in ten categories, including 7 PCRS Level 2 standby units and 6 PCRS Level 3standby units. China has topped the other countries in the world with the largest number of peacekeeping standby troops and the fullest range of professional contingents.
China has dispatched more support personnel to participate in UN peacekeeping operations. After the Leaders’ Summit on Peacekeeping in 2015, China responded actively to the UN call for more enabler assets including engineering and medical capabilities. Twenty-five rotations of engineer and medical units totaling 7,001 troops have been committed to missions in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), South Sudan, Sudan’s Darfur, Mali, and Lebanon. As of August 2020, six Chinese engineer detachments of 1,188 troops and four medical detachments of 199 troops are serving on UN peacekeeping missions.
China has fulfilled the mission of offering training courses for foreign peacekeepers. In the past five years, China has provided 20 training programs to over 1,500 peacekeepers from more than 60 countries, including training courses for civilian protection, senior mission officials, trainers, military professionals, and female officers. The Chinese armed forces has trained more than 300 demining professionals from countries including Cambodia, Laos, Ethiopia, Sudan, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. The Chinese Ministry of Public Security has also trained more than 1,000 peacekeeping police officers from multiple countries.
China has provided free military aid to the African Union (AU). Africa has the greatest need for peacekeeping. To help African countries improve their own capability to maintain peace and stability, and provide African solutions to African issues, the Chinese armed forces has been proactive in fulfilling China’s commitment of gratis military aid of USD100 million for the AU to support setting up the African Standby Force and the African Capacity for Immediate Response to Crisis. Up to now, Chinese military has delivered the first installment of the aid including military equipment and supplies to the AU, has sent military experts to the AU to provide end-user training, and has agreed with the AU on the arrangement of the next aid installments.
China has sent the first peacekeeping helicopter unit for carrying out operations. Chinese military sent its first peacekeeping helicopter contingent with140 troops to the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) in August 2017. The contingent was composed of four medium multi-purpose helicopters and tasked with force delivery, operational support, search and rescue, medical evacuation, and logistic supply. It has become a pillar of the UN peacekeeping operations in Darfur.
China has established the China-UN Peace and Development Fund in support of the UNPKOs. To better support the UN efforts for peace and advance multilateral cooperation, China has established a China-UN Peace and Development Fund. From 2016 to 2019, the fund financed 52 peace and security projects to a total value of USD33.62 million. Twenty-three of these projects were in support of the UNPKOs, which cost USD10.38 million. The goals of these projects included strengthening coordination and planning of the UNPKOs, increasing African peacekeeping capacity, providing protection for peacekeepers, and improving people’s livelihood in Sudan’s Darfur, Mali and other mission areas.