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China urges better guided, coordinated UN peacekeeping

Updated: Sep 9,2016 1:36 PM     Xinhua

State Councilor Chang Wanquan addresses the UN peacekeeping defense ministerial meeting in London on Sept 8. [Photo/Xinhua]

LONDON — China on Sept 8 said that UN peacekeeping should be improved with better guidance and coordination as the second largest peacekeeping funding contributor of UN peacekeeping renewed its commitment and pledges.

Fresh pledges

China is devoted to improving its peacekeeping capabilities and developing international cooperation, visiting State Councilor and Defense Minister Chang Wanquan told the UN peacekeeping defense ministerial meeting in London.

“In support of UN’s initiative of setting up a ‘vanguard brigade’ of 4,000 rapid deployable troops, China will make part of its 8,000 rapid deployable troops meet the Level II readiness requirement of 60 days,” he told the one-day meeting.

Last September, President Xi Jinping made an array of commitments to the international community at the leaders’ summit on peacekeeping.

Speaking at the one-day meeting, Chang reaffirmed the commitment of his country, the largest troop contributor among the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, to participating in and supporting UN peacekeeping operations.

Over the past 26 years, China has sent over 33,000 officers and soldiers to UN peacekeeping missions. Around 2,500 Chinese peacekeepers are conducting peacekeeping missions in South Sudan, Mali and seven other task zones around the world.

Three Chinese UN peacekeepers were killed in peacekeeping missions earlier this year in Mali and South Sudan with a few others wounded.

“There is no better way for us to honor their memory than to support and improve peacekeeping efforts so as to uphold jointly world peace,” Chang said.

Addressing a press conference after the meeting, UN Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Herve Ladsous lauded the commitment of the Chinese peacekeeping troops.

“They are deployed in very difficult environment, they have suffered tragic casualties in Mali and South Sudan not so long ago, and I think China is demonstrating courage and commitment to the international community,” he said.

British Secretary of State for Defense Michael Fallon told the press conference that China’s announcements on Sept 8 marked “a watershed in China’s evolution in playing a greater international role.”

Guidance, efficiency, capacity building

Chang also stressed that to meet new challenges arising in changing conditions, it is imperative that the UN should provide better guidance to improve peacekeeping and all parties concerned should enhance coordination to make peacekeeping more effective.

“The Security Council should build consensus before authorizing peacekeeping mandate, be practical and pragmatic in its approach to peacekeeping and ensure that related resolutions are fully implemented,” he said.

Chang called on all parties concerned to strengthen capacity building to improve peacekeeping.

The minister stressed that in carrying out rapid deployment of peacekeeping operations, the UN and related parties “should respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity as well as the main role of host countries concerned.”

He also underscored that it should be reaffirmed that the protection of civilians is the primary responsibility of governments and parties to conflict of host countries, and countries refrain from “conducting peacekeeping in an abusive way.”

The UN should continue to pursue peacekeeping reform, streamline deployment procedures, increase efficiency, improve field and logistic support and enhance safety and security of peacekeepers, he told the meeting.

The defense ministerial meeting is a follow-up event of the leaders’ summit on peacekeeping which was convened in the United States last year.

The meeting, with the themes being planning, pledges and performance in UN peacekeeping missions, is expected to improve the planning of peacekeeping operations, implement the pledges made back in last year’s summit and better the performance of peacekeepers to make them better led, trained and balanced.

“We have to make sure we prepare ourselves for the challenges ahead and are able to respond rapidly,” Ladsous told the meeting.