China’s Armed Forces: 30 Years of UN Peacekeeping Operations
The State Council Information Office of
the People’s Republic of China
I. Embarking on Missions for World Peace
II. A Key Force in UNPKOs
III. Implementation of Pledges Announced at the UN Summit
IV. Active Efforts for Greater International Cooperation
V. Contributing to Building a Community with a Shared Future for Mankind
Annex I Timeline of Activities in UNPKOs
Annex II Participation in UN Peacekeeping Missions
Annex III Service Personnel Fatalities on UN Peacekeeping Missions
This year marks the 75th anniversary of victory in the Chinese People’s War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression and the World Anti-Fascist War. It is also the 75th anniversary of the founding of the United Nations (UN) and the 30th year since China’s armed forces first participated in UN peacekeeping operations (UNPKOs).
Peace is an ever-lasting aspiration of the Chinese people and the salient feature of China’s development. Since its founding, the People’s Republic of China (PRC) has been firmly committed to the path of peaceful development; it has made a significant contribution to world peace and development while realizing its own development. China has always resolutely safeguarded the UN-centered international system and the basic norms governing international relations underpinned by the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, and worked with countries around the world to uphold multilateralism, equity and justice.
China takes concrete actions to safeguard world peace and has actively participated in the UNPKOs. China is the second largest contributor to both peacekeeping assessment and UN membership fees, and the largest troop-contributing country (TCC) among the permanent members of the UN Security Council. Over the past 30 years, China’s armed forces have resolutely delivered on the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, and sent over 40,000 peacekeepers to 25 UN peacekeeping missions. They have faithfully performed their duties and made a positive contribution to world peace and common development. They have stood fast as a disciplined force for peace and justice.
In the new era, China’s armed forces comprehensively implement the pledges announced by President Xi Jinping during the UN Leaders’ Summit on Peacekeeping. To contribute to building a community with a shared future for mankind, China’s armed forces have stepped up their support for and participation in the UNPKOs, bringing greater confidence and hope for peace and development to areas beset by conflict. As a critical element and key force in the UNPKOs, China’s armed forces in the new era have instilled more positive energy into world peace and development.
The world is undergoing profound changes unseen in a century. Despite mounting risks and challenges, peace and development remain the overriding theme of the times. No matter how the international landscape evolves, China will always strive to maintain world peace, promote global growth, and uphold international order. China’s armed forces will always be a force of justice for world peace and development.
The Chinese government is issuing this white paper to review the glorious journey of China’s armed forces in the UNPKOs over the past 30 years, to expound their ideas on safeguarding world peace in the new era, and to elaborate on the efforts they make.
I. Embarking on Missions for World Peace
UN Peacekeeping, as an instrument developed for peace, has made a significant contribution to world peace. In 1971, China recovered its legitimate seat in the UN and began to play a more active role in international affairs. After reform and opening up began in 1978, China gradually increased its involvement in UN peacekeeping affairs. In April 1990, China’s armed forces dispatched five military observers to the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO) and embarked on a new voyage as a participant in the UNPKOs. In the past three decades, China’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. China’s Blue Helmets have become a key force in UN peacekeeping.
China’s armed forces participate in the UNPKOs, because the pursuit of peace is in the genes of the Chinese nation. The Chinese nation values peace and harmony. Ideas such as “unity of man and nature” “harmony among all nations” “harmony without uniformity” and “kindness towards fellow human beings,” voice the mind of the Chinese people on the universe, international relations, society and ethics. The pursuit of peace, amity and harmony has long been the primary aspiration of our nation. The philosophy of upholding peace, harmony, cooperation and common development has been passed down from generation to generation in China. For millennia, peace has been in the veins and the DNA of the Chinese nation. It is a consistent goal of China’s armed forces.
China’s armed forces participate in the UNPKOs, because the Chinese people care about the wellbeing of humanity. The Chinese people always dream of living in a harmonious world where everyone belongs to one and the same family. They advocate that “a just cause should be pursued for the common good” and that one should put concern for the wellbeing of other people before personal interests. They hope for a better life not only for themselves, but also for other peoples across the world. Chinese service members join the UN efforts to bring hope and promote peace.
China’s armed forces participate in the UNPKOs, because serving the people is the fundamental purpose of the people’s armed forces. China’s armed forces come from the people, have their roots in the people, developed to serve the people, and fight for the people. They serve the people wholeheartedly at all times and under all circumstances, remain close to the people, and always put the people’s interests first. With love and humanity, Chinese peacekeeping troops make efforts to bring peace and happiness to people in mission areas.
China’s armed forces participate in the UNPKOs, because China honors its responsibilities as a major country. As a founding member of the UN and a responsible member of the international community, China honors its obligations, firmly supports the UN’s authority and stature, and actively participates in the UNPKOs. China is a permanent member of the UN Security Council, and therefore, it is incumbent on China as a major country to play an active part in the UNPKOs. World peace is indivisible and humanity shares a common destiny. 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.
China’s armed forces commit themselves to the following policy stances on UN peacekeeping:
Upholding the purposes and principles of the UN Charter. China always abides by the primary principles of the UN such as sovereign equality of all members and settlement of international disputes by peaceful means. It respects the social systems and development paths independently chosen by other countries, and respects and accommodates the legitimate security concerns of all parties.
Following the basic principles of the UNPKOs. China always adheres to the basic principles of UN peacekeeping, including consent of the host nation, impartiality, and non-use of force except in self-defense and defense of the mandate. It respects the territorial integrity and political independence of sovereign states, always remains impartial, and strictly fulfills the mandate of the Security Council.
Championing the vision of global governance based on extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits. China stays committed to building a world of lasting peace through dialogue and consultation, to combining its efforts with others to bring about a world of common security for all, and to creating a world of common prosperity through win-win cooperation, an open and inclusive world through exchanges and mutual learning, and a clean and beautiful world by pursuing green and low-carbon development.
Pursuing common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security. China always respects and ensures the security of each and every country. It upholds security in both traditional and non-traditional fields, promotes the security of both individual countries and broader regions through dialogue and cooperation, and focuses on development and security so that security would be durable.
Staying committed to peaceful means in settling disputes. China advocates that disputes and differences between countries or within a country should be resolved through peaceful means. Countries should increase mutual trust, settle disputes and promote security through dialogue. Willful threat or use of force should be rejected.
Building stronger peacekeeping partnerships. China strives to bring about greater involvement of host nations, TCCs and fund contributing countries (FCCs) through UN peacekeeping reform. It leverages the role of regional and sub-regional organizations, and promotes closer partnerships in peacekeeping operations.
II. A Key Force in UNPKOs
Over the past 30 years, China’s armed forces have contributed a growing number of peacekeepers across an expanding range of deployments. From a few military observers at the outset of its involvement, China’s armed forces are now sending both formed units and military professionals. Chinese military peacekeepers serve on the UN missions in engineer, medical, transport, helicopter, force protection and infantry units, and as staff officers, military observers and seconded officers. Chinese military peacekeepers have left their footprints in over 20 countries and regions including Cambodia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Liberia, Sudan, Lebanon, Cyprus, South Sudan, Mali and the Central African Republic. They have made a tremendous contribution to facilitating the peaceful settlement of disputes, safeguarding regional security and stability, and promoting economic and social development in host nations.