By He Yin
World peace is indivisible and humanity shares a common destiny. In the past 30 years since China joined the United Nations peacekeeping operations, the country’s armed forces have injected a power of peace into the world with concrete actions, creating a stable environment for development, and delivering warmth, love and friendship to every corner of the globe.
A recent white paper issued by China remarked that the country’s armed forces have engaged in the UNPKOs with courage and determination, always aspiring to fulfill their missions of meeting the responsibilities of a major country, safeguarding world peace, and contributing to the building of a community with a shared future for mankind.
To share a common destiny with the world is a firm faith of the Chinese peacekeepers. “In this vast world I might be just like a small and light feather, but even so, I would like this feather to carry the wish for peace.” That’s a line wrote by Chinese UN peacekeeper He Zhihong who died in 2010 in Haiti. It is a reflection of the broad mind of the Chinese armed forces, as well as an oath made by them to safeguard the peace of the world.
Setting out for operations at dawn, returning to camps late at night, sleeping in the sound of guns and waking up by battling cries, Chinese peacekeepers are always standing out wherever they are needed. Over the past 30 years, China’s armed forces have contributed more than 40,000 service members to 25 UN peacekeeping missions. Sixteen Chinese military peacekeepers have sacrificed their lives for the noble cause of peace. Chinese military peacekeepers maintain peace with their sweat, youth and lives.
Only by giving equal attention to development and security and by addressing both the symptoms and root causes of conflict can sustainable peace be assured. In the UNPKOs, China’s armed forces have always contributed to a safe and stable environment for countries and regions in conflict. They also actively participate in medical support and health care, humanitarian assistance, environmental protection, improving lives, and social reconstruction, and provide more public services to enable the local people to enjoy the benefits of peaceful development.
In the past 30 years, China’s armed forces have built and rehabilitated more than 17,000 kilometers of roads and 300 bridges, disposed of 14,000 landmines and unexploded ordnance, and performed a large number of engineering tasks including leveling ground, renovating airports, assembling prefabricated houses, and building defense works. They have provided medical services to over 246,000 sick and wounded people. In Darfur, which lies on the edge of a desert with complex geology, is one of the regions afflicted by the world’s most severe water shortages. From 2007 to 2013, Chinese military engineers drilled 14 wells in the most difficult circumstances, and effectively alleviated the problem of water scarcity for the locals.
Jean-Pierre Lacroix, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations of the UN, remarked that by protecting civilians, safeguarding security, constructing infrastructure and improving livelihood, Chinese peacekeepers have made huge contributions to the development of world peace.
Chinese military peacekeepers are not only guardians of peace but also messengers of friendship. The Chinese medical units in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) ran a twinning project in SOS Children’s Village Bukavu to offer help. Touched by the love and care from the units, children in the village called the female members their Chinese mothers. The consistent efforts of the Chinese units over the past 17 years have won widespread praise from the locals. In the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), Chinese military peacekeepers provided agricultural techniques, farming tools and vegetable seeds to local people. They were invited by local middle schools to teach lessons on Chinese culture and language, which were very popular with the students.
With concrete actions, Chinese peacekeeping armed forces proved that civilization differences are not a source of conflicts, and mutual learning shall become a force that drives human progress and a bond that safeguards world peace.
To participate in the UNPKOs is integral to China’s joint efforts with other countries to build a community with a shared future for mankind. The world is undergoing profound changes unseen in a century, accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Uncertainties and destabilizing factors in the international security situation are on the rise, and there are diverse threats to world peace.
China’s armed forces will endeavor to play a stronger role in the UNPKOs, comprehensively improve peacekeeping capability, faithfully fulfill their responsibilities, and contribute more to world peace. China will keep working to improve the peacekeeping system and address both the symptoms and root causes of conflict. It will pursue extensive consultation, joint contribution, and mutual complementarity and build a new type of peacekeeping partnership. Besides, it supports the UN efforts to refine security council mandates and improve peacekeeping effectiveness. The country supports giving full play to the Peacekeeping Capability Readiness System and enhancing rapid response. It advocates to proactively address risks and threats and ensures the safety and security of peacekeepers.
The Action for Peacekeeping (A4P) initiative raised by the UN shall be actively responded by global countries. No matter how the international landscape evolves, China will always be ready to join hands with all peace-loving nations to champion and pursue multilateralism, and uphold the international system centered on the UN and the basic norms of international relations underpinned by the purposes and principles of the UN Charter. China will exert itself in building a community with a shared future for mankind, and in making the world a better place.