Full Text: China's Armed Forces: 30 Years of UN Peacekeeping Operations

White Paper
China's State Council Information Office on Sept. 18 released a white paper titled "China's Armed Forces: 30 Years of UN Peacekeeping Operations."

XinhuaUpdated: September 18, 2020

III. Implementation of Pledges Announced at the UN Summit

On September 28, 2015, President Xi Jinping addressed the Leaders' Summit on Peacekeeping at UNHQ and announced six measures that China would take to support UN peacekeeping. The Chinese government and armed forces have faithfully implemented the decisions and directions of President Xi Jinping, and taken concrete steps to honor their promises. Important progress has been made over the past five years. China's armed forces have expanded the composition of their peacekeeping troops from single service to multiple military branches, enabling Chinese peacekeepers to perform diverse tasks in addition to enabling functions. The objectives of China's peacekeeping efforts have extended beyond conflict prevention to building lasting peace. As a result, the peacekeeping capacity of China's armed forces has been further strengthened.

1. A Peacekeeping Standby Force in Position

Rapid deployment of peacekeeping forces means greater opportunities to maintain peace and protect lives. China's armed forces fully support the UN in developing the Peacekeeping Capability Readiness System (PCRS) and reinforcing UN rapid deployment capacity. In September 2017, China completed the registration of a UN peacekeeping standby force of 8,000 troops. This force has 28 units in ten categories -- infantry, engineer, transport, medical, force protection, rapid response, helicopter, transport aircraft, UAV, and surface ship units. In October 2018, after a satisfactory Assessment and Advisory Visit (AAV) by a UNHQ team, 13 of these units were elevated to PCRS Level 2. In 2019 and 2020, six units were upgraded to PCRS Level 3 from Level 2. The Chinese standby force has been trained in strict compliance with the UN criteria and maintained the requisite degree of preparedness. It is now a well-trained, well-equipped and disciplined specialized force. China has become the country with the largest number of standby peacekeeping troops of the most diversified profile. In addition, in June 2016, the Chinese Ministry of Public Security set up a permanent peacekeeping police squad, the first of its kind in the world. The squad was pledged to the PCRS Rapid Deployment Level (RDL) in October 2019.

2. More Enabling Capabilities to the UNPKOs

Enabler troops including engineer, transport and medical units provide vital support to peacekeeping missions. They play an important part in promoting the effectiveness of UN missions, facilitating post-conflict reconstruction and improving lives in host nations. China traditionally deploys hard-to-source enabler troops. 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 DRC, South Sudan, Sudan's Darfur, Mali and Lebanon. As of August 2020, six Chinese engineer units of 1,188 troops and four medical units of 199 troops were serving on UN missions. In the danger, turbulence and harsh conditions of mission areas, Chinese military peacekeepers have successfully performed all tasks entrusted by the UN including building paved roads and bridges, clearing mines and explosives, providing medical services, and supporting reconstruction in host nations. They have contributed to the local peace process and promoted the public image of UN peacekeepers.

3. Training Foreign Peacekeepers

China's armed forces are willing to share their peacekeeping assets in a spirit of win-win. They have actively helped other TCCs improve training, build capability to respond to complex situation, and better perform in the UNPKOs. In the past five years, China has provided 20 training programs to over 1,500 peacekeepers from more than 60 countries, covering civilian protection and courses for senior mission officials, trainers, military professionals, and female officers. The Chinese military provided assistance in demining and trained more than 300 professionals from countries including Cambodia, Laos, Ethiopia, Sudan, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. The Chinese Ministry of Public Security also trained more than 1,000 foreign peacekeeping police officers.

4. Military Aid Gratis to the African Union (AU)

Africa has the greatest need for peacekeeping. In order to help the African countries improve their ability to maintain peace and stability, and provide African solutions to African issues, the PLA has honored China's commitment of gratis military aid to the value of USD100 million to support the African Standby Force and the African Capacity for Immediate Response to Crisis. The first installment of the aid including military equipment and supplies has been delivered to the AU, and Chinese military experts have been sent to complete the hand-over and provide end-user training. The PLA has agreed with the AU on the arrangement of the next aid installments.

5. The First Peacekeeping Helicopter Unit in Operation

The PLA helicopter unit made its first flight on a peacekeeping mission in August 2017. China's armed forces deployed their first peacekeeping helicopter unit of 140 troops to the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID). The unit was composed of four medium multi-purpose helicopters and tasked with force delivery, operational support, search and rescue, medical evacuation, and logistic supply. The unit adapted itself to the unknown complexities of overseas missions and fulfilled multiple high-risk tasks. It has become an essential airborne arm of UNAMID and a pillar of the UN peacekeeping operations in Darfur.

6. China-UN Peace and Development Fund in Support of the UNPKOs

To 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 goal of these projects is to strengthen coordination and planning of the UNPKOs, increase African peacekeeping capacity, provide protection for peacekeepers, and improve lives in Sudan's Darfur, Mali and other mission areas.

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