Troops ready for S. Su­dan

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - CHINA - By ZHANG ZHIHAO zhangzhi­hao@ chi­nadaily.com.cn

China dis­patched the first 120 mem­bers of its 700strong peace­keep­ing in­fantry bat­tal­ion to Juba, cap­i­tal of South Su­dan, on a 12-month United Na­tions mis­sion on Sun­day.

Two Chi­nese peace­keep­ers were killed there in July.

The bat­tal­ion also in­cludes a 13-mem­ber fe­male unit to un­der­take hu­man­i­tar­ian mis­sions, and pro­tect women and children’s rights, the De­fense Min­istry said.

The re­main­der of the bat­tal­ion will leave in five sep­a­rate de­ploy­ments for South Su­dan and re­place the sec­ond batch of Chi­nese peace­keep­ers sta­tioned there. The new bat­tal­ion will pro­tect civil­ians, UN staff and hu­man­i­tar­ian work­ers, do pa­trols and es­corts, and con­duct other mis­sions.

The third bat­tal­ion is com­prised mainly of of­fi­cers and sol­diers from the 54 th Group Army of the Peo­ple’s Lib­er­a­tion Army.

Of the 700 per­son­nel, 138 have pre­vi­ous peace­keep­ing ex­pe­ri­ence.

Founded on July 9, 2011, the Repub­lic of South Su­dan be­came the new­est coun­try in the world and was em­broiled in re­gional con­flict. In 2014, the Se­cu­rity Coun­cil passed a res­o­lu­tion re­in­forc­ing the peace­keep­ing mis­sion in South Su­dan.

China also de­ployed a 700-mem­ber bat­tal­ion to South Su­dan in Jan­uary last year.

China cur­rently has 2,639 peace­keep­ers on duty — more than all other per­ma­nent mem­bers on the UN Se­cu­rity Coun­cil com­bined — according to UN peace­keep­ing data. China is also the sec­ond­largest fi­nancier of peace­keep­ing op­er­a­tions.

China’s grow­ing par­tic­i­pa­tion in UN peace­keep­ing demon­strates its re­spon­si­bil­ity as a Se­cu­rity Coun­cil mem­ber and the sec­ond-largest econ­omy in the world, said He Wen­ping, a re­searcher at the In­sti­tute of West-Asian and African Stud­ies of the Chi­nese Academy of So­cial Sciences.

To tackle dif­fi­cult mis­sions and min­i­mize risks, the PLA has been train­ing its sol­diers in var­i­ous peace­keep­ing pro­to­cols and op­ti­miz­ing the bat­tal­ion by adding veterans and build­ing di­ver­sity, said Zhu Chenghu, a pro­fes­sor at PLA Na­tional De­fense Univer­sity.

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