亚太安全合作理事会中国委员会 时间 : 2016-12-26 作者 : 亚太安全合作理事会中国委员会 责编 : 马丽
China Participates in the UN Peace-Keeping Operations as a Means of Providing International Security Goods
November 11, 2016
Seoul, Republic of Korea
I am glad to have this opportunity to attend the first meeting of the CSCAP study group on enhancing contributions from Asia Pacific countries to UN peacekeeping operations. I wish to thank CSCAP Korea, CSCAP Malaysia and CSCAP Cambodia for inviting me to make a speech on this topic on behalf of CSCAP China.
It is well understood that the UN peace-keeping operations are the effective measures of maintaining the international as well as the regional peace, implementing multilateralism and achieving collective security. China is now taking an active part in the UNPKO simply to bear the obligations and responsibilities in joint international efforts to return peace and security order in the war or conflict-stricken areas.
In April 2015, China sent an infantry battalion to South Sudan, the first ever，which marks the extension from previous dispatch of engineering, transportation and medical-care units. On October 10 2016, China shipped the facilities and materials attached to the helicopter unit destined for Darfur of Sudan, which will arrive there in January 2017. The unit will be manned by 140 with 4 heavy-weight helicopters. Those are the latest developments, in addition to the rotation of peacekeepers in other mission areas, of China’s enhancing contributions to the international peace and security.
Chinese peacekeepers are basically concentrated in Africa. It began to send its PKO units to the Democratic Republic of Congo in April 2003, to Liberia in December, the same year, to South Sudan in May 2006, to Darfur of Sudan in November, 2007, to Mali in November 2013. Furthermore, there are some Chinese military observers in Western Sahara, Coted’Ivoire, and other parts of Africa. Now, about 2500 People’s Liberation Army officers and men and women are carrying out their duties in the areas of field engineering, medical care, transportation, infantry and guards, most of them are in Africa.
The UN peacekeeping operations are very different from domestic conventional military actions and so different from bilateral military cooperative operations, which put forth strict demands on the units. The Chinese PKO units stick firmly to the UN principles, the agreement by the parties involved, neutrality and no use of force without authorization unless in self-defense. All units undertake their training according to the UN training program to build their capabilities.
China has set up a three-level training system, with basic and medium training being conducted in the units, and the advanced training at the training center for PKO, the latter one has trained 3800 personnel. It also trains the foreign PKO officers and men. The PKO Center of the Ministry of National Defense was established In June 2009, in Beijing, fulfilling the advanced training, international exchanges and cooperation, and research, etc. It is training the commanding officers of the standby units, the back-bone soldiers of pre-deployed units, military observers and staff officers. So far, it has carried out 130 international exchanges with over 80 countries and more than 10 international and regional organizations, the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, foreign defense ministers and senior military officers have been the visiting guests of the center.
The Chinese PKO often encounters some unforeseen and unpredicted instances. From 2014 and 2015, Ebola, the most fearsome and infectious epidemic disease plagued western Africa, surprising all including the PKO units. Under the UN mandate, China started to deploy two PKO units of field engineering and medical care there in November 2003. In the aftermath of Ebola attack, the units had to shift from keeping peace to keeping order and providing medical care to the locals as emergency disaster relief and humanitarian aid. They worked tirelessly to build medical clinic, transport the medical materials and maintain the social order. The level two hospital of China did its best to take care of more than one thousand UN PKO officers and men and consulted quite a number of Ebola hypochondria people.
Terrorism and extremism not only aggravate the sustained political and security disturbances in some African countries，but also pose a grave risk to the PKO. Some of peace keepers are killed or wounded as a result of terrorist attacks under varied circumstances. They do not pick up a certain country as their special target, they just want the international community to know that they are activating in any sense and in any case. Terrorist attack on PKO in Mali is a case in point. The UN, the AU, the regional organizations and the international cooperative partners should make joint efforts to provide assistance to address those problems.
Having said that, the Chinese PKO units in Africa implement the UN tasks in good faith, and at the same time, they try by all means to help the local people and society. Take South Sudan for example, the medical unit offers all sorts of medical-care to the refugees, including consultation, medicine and even food. At Saint Maria Nurse School, the Chinese doctors train the local medics in first aid, nursing skill and operating medical equipment. The Chinese engineers build and repair infrastructure, level the roads, dig water wells and put up tent schools. What they do there is to pass on a massage of harmony, traditional Chinese culture among human beings and between man and nature. By means of building harmony, peace and stability can be maintained and extended.
China has made great sacrifice to the UN PKO, 13 officers and men died in their harness and a number of others were wounded. Yet China’s contributions to maintaining the world and regional peace is rewarding. The Chinese speed, the Chinese quality and the Chinese spirit have become models of the UN PKO missions. The Institute for International Peace Studies in Stockholm published a report by saying that the Chinese PKO units are the most professional, most effective, well-trained and highly disciplined. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said, ” I am proud of what the Chinese PKO personnel have done, it is them who have made the world more peaceful, safer and freer.”
China now is the largest troop contributor among P5 of the UN Security Council and stands at top 10 among 123 troop contributing countries. In sharing the UN PKO funds, China now ranks the second, and takes up 10.02% from 2016 to 2018. Over the past 26 years, China has sent 33 thousand peace keepers. At the moment, about 2500 officers and soldiers are doing their jobs in 9 mission areas.
China reaffirmed its support to the UN PKO. At the UN PKO summit in September 2015, President Xi Jinping declared to take more measures in this regard: China will be the first to build 8000 personnel standby troops, send more field engineering, transportation and medical units if there need to be, train 2000 PKO personnel for other countries, carry out 10 mine-sweeping programs in 5 years, provide 100 million US dollars worth of gratis aid to Africa in its establishment of standby units and rapid reaction troops, and deploy the first helicopter unit in Africa, etc.
China honors its promise. Since the UN PKO summit meeting held last year, China has trained about 500 foreign PKO personnel, and very soon it will complete the registration with the UN on the 8000-strong stand-by troops. At the same time, China is consulting with the African Union on the specific plan of implementing 100 million US dollars worth of gratis aid to Africa. China is supportive of the UN proposal to rapidly deploy a vanguard brigade as PKO mission and willing to deploy rapidly some of 8000-strong standby troops within 60 days as part of the UN rapid reaction deployment efforts.
The United Nations has increasingly played important role in keeping the world peace and maintaining the international and regional security by sending troops to the relevant countries. Notwithstanding the achievements, there are some issues to which the UN should pay attention. At present, the UN and its member states should review comprehensively the new situation, new missions and new threats that the UN PKO is facing, systematically improve the PKO mechanism, enhance the PKO capabilities of handling the complex circumstances, and comprehensively raise the capabilities of protecting peacekeepers personal security. There should be more financial and resources inputs as more and more troops are deployed in conflict areas, the developed countries should contribute more in this context. There should be closer cooperation between the UN and relevant countries and closer coordination between the UN Secretariat, the troop contributing countries and recipient countries. Regional organization such as the African Union has a big role to play, so the UN should promote the regional and sub-regional cooperation to address their security problems.
The world is changing far and fast and facing complex and severe security challenges, peace-keeping is one tool of resolving the problems. The international community should find a way out at the end of the day to uproot the causes of political, social and religious confrontation and conflicts in some African countries, capitalize on all measures, political, diplomatic and economic, in preventing the potential outbreak of war and conflict, support the agenda on peace, social and economic development, help those countries in need get rid of poverty, unemployment and social inequality, or at least, provide more aid and assistance so that the young people can go to school, have cloth to wear and food to eat. The assistance should also cover the reconstruction and development program in the aftermath of conflicts.
In conclusion, China will continue to play a constructive part in maintaining and promoting the peace and security in Africa based on the principles of respecting the will of African countries, not interfering in African internal affairs and observing the basic norms governing the international relations. It will explore ways and means to constructively participate in resolving hot-button issues of Africa and exert a unique influence on and make greater contributions to African peace and stability.
Last but not the least, China welcomes third-party initiative of cooperation on peace and security in Africa, but that can only be done on the bases of African consent and African dominance. Nothing will be achieved without Africa playing the leading role on those matters.