UN chief hails China's peacekeepers

Updated: 2013-06-20 02:15

By ZHAO YANRONG (China Daily)

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UN chief hails China's peacekeepers

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon visits the peacekeeping center of the Ministry of National Defense in Beijing on Wednesday. Wang Jing / China Daily 

Ban Ki-moon lauds troops' commitment, bravery and contribution

The courage and solidarity of Chinese troops on UN peacekeeping missions around the world has been praised by the organization's chief.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon arrived in Beijing on Wednesday for his sixth visit to China. He said xie xie — thank you in Chinese — many times at the peacekeeping center of the Ministry of National Defense, noting that China has made great contributions to world peace and security.

It was Ban's first visit to the peacekeeping center, which was established in 2009.

"I have seen the bravery of Chinese blue helmets in helping struggling communities around the world," Ban said.

"China provides more peacekeepers to the United Nations than all four other permanent members (of the Security Council) combined. I applaud this solidarity."

Ban said he counted on China's continued contribution to world peace, and discussed the issue when he met President Xi Jinping in the afternoon.

Xi said China attaches importance to the UN and will firmly support it. As a permanent member of the Security Council, China has rights as well as responsibilities and will continue to promote peaceful settlement of international disputes and support the UN in promoting the Millennium Development Goals.

These are eight international development goals officially established following the UN Millennium Summit in 2000, which include eradicating extreme poverty and hunger, achieving universal primary education and promoting gender equality.

Fang Fenghui, chief of the general staff of the People's Liberation Army, said development of the PLA is aimed at safeguarding national sovereignty, security and national interests, as well as safeguarding world peace and regional stability.

"The PLA is willing to share experiences and enhance communication with the UN and other countries on peacekeeping in order to make greater contributions to world peace," Fang said.

The PLA has sent troops to 23 UN peacekeeping missions, involving more than 22,000 officers and soldiers, with nine of them losing their lives during these missions.

There are now 1,752 Chinese officers and soldiers serving on nine UN peacekeeping missions.

Ban, who in 2007 and 2009 visited Chinese peacekeeping troops in Lebanon, said he is very impressed with the unique and excellent facilities at China's peacekeeping center, and said the nation has built a good partnership with other countries' peacekeeping forces by providing exchange training programs.

"China is a rising country in terms of political profile and economic development that also requires corresponding responsibility for world peace and development. And I count on China's continuing contribution," he said.

At the center, Ban had a video link with a group of Chinese peacekeepers in South Sudan. He said they have made a great contribution by building public facilities and communities, which are the foundation of peace, stability and economic development in the new nation.

"South Sudan is one of the most challenging places for our peacekeeping operations in the world. Therefore, you should be very proud of what you are doing for the peace of South Sudan. Your contribution to South Sudan is crucially important for the country and the region."

Ban also inspected field training on a simulated patrol for officers and soldiers who will carry out UN peacekeeping missions in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in August.

"This is the place we really need peace and security. Your contribution will be very important for the country," he said.

Yang Hong, a trainee at the center for this mission, is working hard to prepare for her second spell in the African country as a nursing head.

"I was very excited when I knew that I would have the chance to serve as a peacekeeper again. As a military medical staff member, I think peacekeeping is a great opportunity to practice our capabilities in peacetime," she said.

Peng Guangqian, a major general in the PLA and a Beijing-based military strategist, said peacekeeping is a good way for China to contribute to world stability.

"Under the direction of the UN, the PLA has obligations to contribute to world peace. Meanwhile, the Chinese army also needs to gain more understanding about the world and have an open mind to have a better engagement in world development," Peng said.