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Friday, June 19, 2015, 09:26 (GMT+7)
China’s participation in the UN peacekeeping operations.

As one of the world leading countries in terms of economy and population, China is now playing an increasingly important role in the regional and global politics. Joining the UN peacekeeping operations (UNPKO) is one of this country’s priorities and has seen positive contributions.

China has been active in the UNPKO since the end of the 1980s when it first deployed its citizens to the UN mission in Namibia in 1989. One year later, in 1990, with the deployment of 5 observers to  the UN mission in the Middle East, China officially joined the UNPKO. To date, among the permanent members of the UN Security Council, China sends the most troops with over 2,000 staff mainly in three fields, namely engineering, military medicine and transportation. What’s more, together with troop's deployment, China has also established training centers for the mission and since 2002, it has signed the UN Standby Arrangement System. Thereby, its troops will be trained and deployed within period of 30 to 60 days in when required by the UN. China’s huge effort has been recognized by international community, particularly its expertise, effectiveness and the level of the troops’ equipment.

Reasons for China’s proactiveness in the UNPKO

According to international analysts, the main reasons for China’s activeness in the UNPKO are: Firstly, joining the UNPKO will increase China’s influence in the international arena, supporting this country in implementing multilateral cooperation mechanism instead of unilateral one when settling international issues, especially dealing with challenges to global security. Secondly, through UNPKO, China wants to send a message to the international community that its rise is associated with its responsibility in settling international concerns. Thirdly, China sees UNPKO a good chance to train their staff of international specialists and to gain knowledge, information, and necessary skills when operate abroad. For this reason, whenever joining a UN mission, China prefers to work with countries with experience in international operations and advanced military technology. Fourthly, together with political and diplomatic goals, China’s participation also aims at  economic purposes, especially in areas rich in natural resources and minerals. Nowadays, the increasing demand for fuel and energy has urged China to promote close relation with main oil exporters in the Africa, such as Sudan, Libya; and countries rich in minerals such as South Africa, Zimbabwe. Besides, trade relation is also attached importance and considered a priority when China chooses to join a UN mission.

Lessons drawn

According to specialists and local governments, China’s success over 25 years joining the UNPKO is attributed to the following reasons:

Attaching importance to perfecting mechanism and organization to manage all the peacekeeping operations abroad.

Focusing on enhancing the quality of  human resource is the key to success of China’s engagement in the UNPKO.

Strengthening disciplines, improving the capability to endure hardship, building a “stately, civilized and peaceful” style for peacekeepers so that they can successfully accomplish the assigned tasks.


Nowadays, UNPKO has entered a new stage with specific traits. It continuously increases in scale, scope of the mission with participation of various countries and hence, demands an increasing budget. Its nature is being more complicated. Besides traditional operations such as observations for ceasefire, troop withdrawal, etc, there appear combined and complicated tasks. Moreover, together with permanent threats, e.g. disease, mine, bomb, traffic accidents, etc, peacekeepers also risk being attacked by terrorists, ambushed or kidnapped in mission. Facing the situation, as an emerging power, China has actively submitted their proposals relating to the UNPKO. Accordingly, to enhance the effectiveness of the mission, first it is necessary to have a sound organizational structure in which different missions must actively cooperate and improve their operations in accordance with a specific mechanism.

Besides, strengthening management and supervision over human resource, budget, the UN should have concrete measures to ensure the safety for its staff in each mission – the agents for peace of the most creditable organization on earth. Involving countries should actively map out their strategies to ensure peace for each region in the world while supporting financially for the UNPKO. As proposed by China, to increase financial capability, the UN should promote cooperation with regional organizations and encourage them to contribute to the mission.

As for ASEAN, China proposes cooperation and exchange with countries engaging in the UNPKO. China holds that these activities not only reflect support for the noble mission but also do good for peace, stability in the region and in the world and facilitate cooperation between China and the Association. Cooperation can be implemented in the forms of experience exchange, cooperation in training, theoretical study, and seeking new and effective mechanism for the UNPKO. According to observers, it is still too early to talk about the effectiveness of China’s proposals. However, this is a positive move to build trust, promote cooperation for peace, stability between countries in the region and the world.

Quoc Ngoc 

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