As of the end of May 2018, 1,600 foreign peacekeepers had been trained at Chinese training centres.
The 70th anniversary of UN peacekeeping is celebrated in 2018. China has been participating in UN peacekeeping operations for 28 years. As Russian expert Azhdar Kurtov noted, after World War II, peacekeeping operations were mostly carried out by Western countries. This is partly due to the fact that in the course of peacekeeping, Western countries were also solving their own problems. These tasks have not always coincided with the goals set for UN peacekeeping missions.
“Western states, through peacekeepers, often asserted their influence in certain regions. The participation of China allows us to rectify this situation, to make peacekeeping meet the true goals of the UN. And China’s build-up of its peacekeeping activity shows that its achievements in the economy, its active development of cooperation with other countries, determine its leading role in the UN efforts to reduce conflicts around the world,” assessed Azhdar Kurtov, a leading expert at the Russian Institute for Strategic Studies, in an interview with Sputnik.
The day before, Senior Colonel Ren Guoqiang, spokesperson for the Ministry of National Defence (MND) of the People’s Republic of China (PRC), said that last month, 8,000 Chinese peacekeepers were certified and approved by UN Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Jean-Pierre Lacroix.
A spokesperson for the PRC’s Ministry of National Defence, Ren Guoqiang, said that China has put more peacekeepers at the disposal of the UN than any other member of the UN Security Council. It is the second largest contributor to the budget of UN peacekeeping operations, taking on more than 10 percent of all expenditures for these purposes.
Not long ago, Nick Birnback, head of Public Affairs for United Nations Peacekeeping, said that China, as a permanent member of the UN Security Council, is setting an example for others because some UN members do not want to bear the cost of peacekeeping. China constantly sends peacekeeping forces to regions with severe conflicts. Over the years, China’s contribution to peacekeeping has steadily increased, he noted.
Shen Shishun, an Asia-Pacific expert at the China Institute of International Studies, told Sputnik that China’s peacekeeping activities are fully based on the goals set by the United Nations.
“China is directing its units to peacekeeping missions in full compliance with the requirements and tasks of the UN, aimed at ensuring peace and order in conflict zones. China does not send peacekeepers anywhere on its own and, moreover, does not intend to use them to serve its own interests abroad.
Peacekeeping forces play an important role in stabilizing situations in war-torn regions. The local population and states on whose territory conflicts occur are interested in this assistance. UN peacekeepers carry out their missions under very difficult conditions. Often they carry out tasks of maintaining peace and stability, being exposed to the gravest dangers.
Among those who sacrificed their lives for the sake of peace and order were many Chinese soldiers wearing blue helmets. The great contribution to maintaining peace and developing world stability is obvious to all. Naturally, this promotes the formation of a positive international image of China. As for allegations that China’s participation in peacekeeping operations is aimed at protecting its interests abroad, they absolutely lack consistency.
These absurd speculations are built on presumptions, the authors of which pursue their own selfish goals. So they say ‘As a long road tests the strength of a horse, so time reveals a person’s heart.’ China is not afraid of such slanderous fabrications — history will give a fair assessment of everything,” Shishun said.
As of the beginning of summer 2018, more than 35,000 Chinese troops had reportedly participated in 24 UN peacekeeping operations. Currently, the UN is carrying out 15 peacekeeping missions worldwide, most of them in Africa.