China’s peacekeeping efforts lauded at New York exhibition

BEIJING (China Daily/ANN) - China has been recognised as an essential partner across the spectrum of United Nations peacekeeping and has been taking on significant responsibilities, a senior UN official said on Monday.

During an exhibition at UN headquarters showcasing China’s contributions in safeguarding world peace, Atul Khare, UN undersecretary-general for field support, joined other UN officials in applauding China’s achievements and commitment to peacekeeping.

Khare said in terms of military personnel, China is “the largest contributor amongst permanent members of the Security Council”.

The country has deployed more than 39,000 military peacekeepers, said Ma Zhaoxu, China’s permanent representative to the UN, during the opening ceremony of the exhibition CPLA: A Force for World Peace.

The People’s Liberation Army has participated in 24 peacekeeping missions in the past three decades.

Chinese peacekeepers also have contributed significant amounts of infrastructure and support systems, including 13,000 kilometers of roads in areas where they have been assigned, medical treatment for more than 170,000 patients and more than 300 armed escorts and patrols. 

The Chinese Navy has regularly deployed vessels in the Gulf of Aden for escort missions since late 2008, and as of December 2018, they had provided protection for more than 6,600 Chinese and foreign vessels, according to the exhibition.

“We are absolutely delighted that China has been willing to not only provide troops to peacekeeping operations but to provide troops that are so well trained and equipped,” said Hugh Van Roosen, deputy military adviser at the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations, who previously served in the US Army.

“These individuals that I have the opportunity to work with have been highly educated, highly motivated and highly capable,” Van Roosen said.

“They are truly individuals who can be relied upon for us” to deliver the best work and keep the peacekeeping operations smooth, he added.

China is also the second-largest financial contributor to peacekeeping projects after the United States, Khare said.

The country has contributed more than $5.8 million to peacekeeping through the UN Peace and Security Trust Fund since 2017, he said, a significant part of which is allocated to projects that improve the security of UN peacekeepers.

One of the UN’s concerns is that peacekeepers are targeted by terrorist groups in some areas, said Carlos Humberto Loitey, military adviser with the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations.

The joint efforts of China and other countries are enhancing the protection of bases used by the UN.

In 2016, China and the UN signed an agreement to contribute $200 million to the UN in the following decade. China’s contribution to the trust fund has been critical for the development and improvement of UN peacekeeping and the reduction of peacekeeping fatalities, Khare said.

The PLA’s practices and achievements were presented through pictures and showcased in the exhibition, which runs through Feb 22 and is co-hosted by the Political Work Department of China’s Central Military Commission and the Chinese Permanent Mission to the UN.

The exhibition also showcases the PLA’s work in international disaster relief and humanitarian assistance and its promotion of security exchanges and cooperation.

Ma said it would give people “a better understanding of China’s firm commitment to world peace and the role the Chinese military plays in this regard”.

Lieutenant Colonel Dimitrios Efstathiou, military adviser to the permanent mission of Greece to the UN, called it “a very extraordinary contribution”. 

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