Why China should and will continue to participate in peacekeeping

Chen Zhuo
2020-09-28 14:58:17
Chinese soldiers involved in peacekeeping operations performs a patrol mission in Juba, the capital of South Sudan, September 11, 2019. /Xinhua

Editor's note: Lan Shunzheng is a research fellow at Charhar Institute and a member of the Chinese Institute of Command and Control. The article reflects the author's opinions, and not necessarily the views of CGTN.

This year marks the 75th anniversary of the victory of the Chinese People's War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression and the World Anti-Fascist War, the 75th anniversary of the founding of the United Nations and the 30th anniversary of the Chinese military's participation in UN peacekeeping operations.

On September 18, the State Council Information Office released a white paper titled "China's Military Has Participated in UN Peacekeeping Operations for 30 years," which gives a detailed description and a summary of China's peacekeeping operations over the years.

Peacekeeping operations, short for United Nations peacekeeping operations, are operations carried out by the United Nations to help maintain or restore peace and security in conflict areas, involving military personnel but without coercive force.

Peacekeeping force is a special cross-border force established in accordance with relevant United Nations resolutions. It was first established in 1956 during the Suez Canal crisis. It is also known as the "blue helmet" force. The force is voluntarily provided by United Nations Member States to prevent the escalation of local conflicts or their recurrence and to help civilians who have been victims of war to create conditions for an eventual political settlement. In 1990, China sent five military observers to the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO). Since then, China has formally joined UN peacekeeping operations. Today, China is the largest contributor of troops and the second largest contributor of peacekeeping funds among the permanent members of the UN Security Council.

There is no doubt that China's participation in UN peacekeeping operations is of great significance to maintaining international security, realizing national interests and promoting military construction.

First of all, with the increasing strength of its comprehensive national strength, China is gradually approaching the center of the world stage, which requires China to gradually assume greater international responsibilities and participate in more international affairs. Peacekeeping operations are an effective tool for the UN to maintain international peace and security.

China's State Council Information Office released a white paper on the participation of the country's armed forces in the United Nations peacekeeping operations on September 18, 2020.

As a permanent member of the UN Security Council, China sends troops and police in a timely manner, makes contributions in full and on time, and fulfills its due obligations in accordance with the UN's requests and requirements, which reflects the responsibilities of a major country. Moreover, China has demonstrated its responsibility as a major country by setting up the China-UN Peace and Development Fund, joining the UN peacekeeping standby mechanism and training peacekeepers from other countries.

Second, China's active participation in peacekeeping affairs has further enhanced mutual understanding and trust with other countries and enhanced China's influence in international and regional security affairs.

In September 2015, President Xi Jinping put forward the concept of "a community with a shared future for mankind" at the 70th anniversary of the UN. This concept fits well with the UN peacekeeping mission concept of "living for peace." Peacekeeping operations provide an excellent platform for promoting and building a "community with a shared future for mankind." Therefore, as the key work of the United Nations in maintaining international peace and security, China's participation in peacekeeping operations is conducive to transforming China's contribution and strength in peacekeeping operations into a voice and influence in international and regional security affairs.

In addition, it is an important part of China's multilateral and military diplomacy. For a long time, some hostile forces have been trying to smear, vilify and distort the image of the Chinese military and its soldiers, resulting in the rampant spread of the "China's military threat theory" and causing varying degrees of misunderstanding about the Chinese military by some foreign people and friendly countries.

By participating in peacekeeping operations and taking the initiative to spread the good image of the Chinese military and its soldiers, it proves with practical actions that "the Chinese military is a solid force for safeguarding world peace and stability." At the same time, in the era of globalization, Chinese enterprises and capital are also going abroad to the world, so how to protect China's overseas interests from infringement has become a problem that must be addressed.

Under such circumstances, the "going out" of the Chinese military is also an inevitable choice to cope with the "great changes" in the new era and safeguard the country's overseas interests. Participating in UN peacekeeping operations, on the one hand, can help our military "go out" and engage in world affairs.

On the other hand, by participating in peacekeeping operations and completing different types of peacekeeping missions, China's peacekeeping capabilities, as well as international exchanges and coordination and cooperation, can be comprehensively enhanced, and a new type of constructive and practical military relations with foreign forces can be formed.

It is clear that China will continue to make its own contribution to peacekeeping in the future. As stated in the White Paper, the Chinese military will continue to support UN peacekeeping operations, fulfill its commitment to safeguarding peace, and bring more confidence to conflict zones and greater hope to local people. China is ready to work with all peace-loving countries to firmly uphold and practice multilateralism, uphold the international system with the United Nations at its core, and uphold the basic norms governing international relations with the purposes and principles of the UN Charter as the cornerstone.

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