JINAN — China will send 130 peacekeeping troops, the last detachment of the country’s first deployment of a full infantry battalion for a United Nations (UN) peacekeeping mission, to South Sudan on April 7.
The 130 troops, dispatched by the Jinan Military Area Command, are expected to arrive in the war-torn African country on April 8 and join 570 compatriots who had been sent in the first three months of this year and who are based in the headquarters of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) in the country’s capital, Juba.
China has previously sent small, specialist units including engineering, transportation, medical and security teams in its 25 years of participating in UN peacekeeping missions.
This comprehensive 700-member battalion comprises three infantry companies and one supply company.
Ding Feng, director of the UN peacekeeping office of the Jinan Military Area Command, said the troops will focus on protecting civilians as well as UN personnel and facilities.
They will also participate in humanitarian relief, patrol streets and perform security duties, Ding said.
China is the biggest contributor of peacekeepers among the five permanent members of the UN security council and currently has more than 2,700 peacekeepers posted in the UN’s nine mission areas. The number will reach 3,100 by the end of this year.
China’s first group of peacekeepers was sent out in April 1990, when Chinese military observers served in the UN Truce Supervision Organization, which monitors and reports violations of cease-fire agreements in the Middle East.
The current South Sudan deployment takes the number of UN peacekeeping missions in which China has participated to 24. These have involved more than 30,000 peacekeepers, with 10 of them losing their lives.