Chinese blue helmets instill positive energy in world peace and development

Wearing the blue helmet makes you feel like a heavyweight in the pursuit and support of peace,” He Yongxue, a battalion commander in the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA), told Beijing-based PLA Daily. Selected as a member of the new peacekeeping infantry battalion to South Sudan, he needs to switch roles and throw himself into the intense training schedule before leaving China to embark on his new mission. He participated in the Shared Destiny-2021 UN peacekeeping field training exercise from September 6 to 15. This is the first-ever such event to be organized by the Chinese military, and also the first multilateral drill to assess the achievements of China’s peacekeeping standby force.
Joint events like Shared Destiny-2021 are important as a means of improving UN peacekeeping capabilities as well as its talent pool. China’s armed forces have thus far conducted various peacekeeping exercises and training programs together with the UN, other countries and regional organizations.
Over the past three decades, China’s armed forces have dispatched about 50,000 peacekeepers to 25 UN peacekeeping missions. Currently, a total of 2,241 Chinese peacekeepers are serving at the UN headquarters in New York, U.S., as well as across seven mission areas.
Among the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, China has become the second largest contributor to the UN peacekeeping budget and the largest supplier of troops to UN peacekeeping operations. “This has been a great achievement and an inspiration for many developing countries,” Kim Won Soo, former Under Secretary General of the UN, wrote in China Daily.
The blue helmet, marked with the letters UN in clear white, is the symbol of UN peacekeepers. The background color of the UN flag shines bright and guides them in contributing to world peace.
“China has played an active role in enhancing world order, promoting multilateralism, and tackling key global challenges,” Khuon Sodary, Second Vice President of the Cambodian National Assembly and a member of the Standing Committee of the Cambodian People’s Party, told Xinhua News Agency.
The country has sent its peacekeepers to join operations in war-torn countries, which “underline the noble and historic role of China and its people in assisting countries around the world to achieve long-term peace, stability and development,” she added.
Over the years, Chinese military peacekeepers have left their footprints in over 20 countries and regions, including Liberia, Lebanon, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), South Sudan and Mali.
According to a white paper released by the State Council Information Office in September 2020, Chinese peacekeepers have made tremendous contributions to facilitating the peaceful settlement of disputes, safeguarding regional security and stability, and promoting economic and social development in host nations.
The PLA dispatched a 700-strong infantry battalion to the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) in 2015, the first organic unit of its kind to operate overseas in a peacekeeping mission.
Over the past six years, seven rotations of the Chinese infantrymen have taken place in the UNMISS. They worked day and night amid the rattle of gunfire and the rumble of explosions in the area. As of August 2020, the battalions had completed 51 long-range and 93 short-distance patrols, 314 armed escorts, and over 30,000 hours of patrols in weapon-free zones, significantly aiding the stabilization of the local situation, according to the white paper.
Mali is among the most dangerous mission areas, afflicted by frequent suicide attacks, roadside bombings and other terrorist assaults. In December 2013, China dispatched a unit of 170 troops to the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) to conduct on-guard duties and VIP protection. This was the first time China’s armed forces had dispatched troops to carry out force protection. As of 2020, China had sent 1,440 troops, in eight rotations, to MINUSMA to serve the purpose. The majority of Chinese peacekeeping troops now perform enabling tasks. Force enablers such as engineer, transport, medical, and helicopter units play an irreplaceable role in ongoing operations. In May 2020, despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Chinese engineer unit constructed a bridge over the Sopo River in South Sudan, effectively establishing a topnotch transport route between the cities of Wau and Raga.
– The Daily Mail-Beijing Review News exchange item