A year in review: salute to Chinese peacekeepers in 2019

Source:China Military Online Editor:Xu Yi 2019-12-17 15:51:35

Portrait of a Chinese peacekeeper. Illustration by Yang Xin

In 2019, batches of Chinese “blue helmets” were sent abroad to perform China’s duty as a responsible major country in safeguarding world peace.  

Throughout the year, Chinese peacekeepers gave excellent performances in such missions as repairing roads, building bridges, clearing landmines, transporting supplies, medical assistance, epidemic prevention, armed patrols, security guarding, civilian protection and humanitarian reliefs, as well as fulfilling professional tasks such as observation, supervision, contacting, negotiation and investigation. They have made outstanding contributions to peacefully settling disputes and maintaining regional security and stability, and received high praise from the United Nations (UN) and local governments and people.

“China plays a unique, key role in UN peacekeeping operations. Without China’s support, the UN peacekeeping operations would not realize as great achievements as today.” In his speech at an exhibition themed “CPLA (Chinese People’s Liberation Army): A Force for World Peace” held at the UN headquarters in New York on February 11st this year, Mr. Atul Khare of India, Under-Secretary General for UN Department of Operational Support expressed thanks to the Chinese military for its consistent, broad support to the UN peacekeeping cause.

In 2019, China deployed more than 2,500 peacekeepers on the front of UN peacekeeping missions. Among the permanent members of the UN Security Council, China is the largest contributor of uniformed personnel to UN peacekeeping operations. They participated in peacekeeping missions in the UN Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO), the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), the UN Mission in the Republic of South Sudan (UNMISS), the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID), the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA), the UN Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO) and the UN Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) as well as in the UN headquarters.

Chinese peacekeepers are playing an increasingly important part this year. In 2019, a Chinese major general was appointed as deputy commander-in-chief of UN mission, two senior colonels as force commanders, and several officers as deputy chiefs of staff, division heads or other key positions. Besides, Chinese peacekeepers have also won high recognition from UN missions for their advanced approaches and concepts in fields like force management, camp construction and equipment maintenance, providing a model for other peacekeeper-contributing countries.  

In 2019, China has undertaken and timely paid 12 percent of UN membership dues and 15.2 percent of peacekeeping budget, making it the second biggest contributor to UN in these fields, and the biggest among developing countries. In addition, the Chinese military dispatched personnel to participate in several UN expert groups, joining in or providing financial support for the compilation and revision of a series of peacekeeping policy documents, and playing a central role in policy formulation and theoretical research concerning UN peacekeeping missions.  

In 2019, five of China’s 13 Level-2 peacekeeping detachments were elevated to Level 3 in the UN Peacekeeping Capability Readiness System(PCRS). Moreover, China actively supports developing nations to strengthen capacity building as troop-contributing countries, and helps them train peacekeeping personnel.

 In 2019, some major powers have failed to pay their UN membership dues and shares of peacekeeping budget, resulting in difficulties for peacekeeping missions. Moreover, peacekeeping operations are still facing many security threats such as extremism and terrorism, which pose greater risk on the safety of peacekeepers. Despite those challenges, the Chinese government has always actively supported UN peacekeeping operations, providing solid, reliable, crucial and consistent support for the peacekeeping cause in terms of funds, manpower, resource and wisdom.

China’s selfless contributions to UN peacekeeping missions have won acclaims from various parties. For instance, participants expressed high praise for China’s effort to maintain world peace and promote peace and development at the 9th Beijing Xiangshan Forum.

Looking ahead, the Chinese military will participate in the UN peacekeeping operations in a firmer and deeper manner, continue contributing Chinese solution and Chinese wisdom to world peace and development, and work together with peace-loving people from around the world to build a community with a shared future for humanity.

(The author is director of the Teaching and Research Office for International Peacekeeping at the College of International Studies, National University of Defense Technology.)