Beijing rebuffs peacekeeper criticism
Allegations ‘malicious’ that Chinese group in S. Sudan withdrew amid attack
The Ministry of National Defense has dismissed recent allegations targeting Chinese peacekeepers in South Sudan, raised in a report by a US-based group, describing them as “sheer malicious hyping”.
The Washington-based Center For Civilians in Conflict said in a report published last week that Chinese peacekeepers with the United Nations Mission in South Sudan had withdrawn from a civilian protection zone in July after coming under attack, Reuters reported.
Yang Yujun, the ministry’s spokesman, said in a written reply issued early on Tuesday that the report’s allegations concerning Chinese peacekeepers was “not in accordance with the facts at all and is sheer malicious hyping”.
The United Nations is investigating the performance of its peacekeeping force in South Sudan, Yang noted.
“Prior to the UN issuing the investigation’s findings, any groundless accusations against UN peacekeepers and personnel is irresponsible,” he said.
After the recent outbreak of conflict in South Sudan, the Chinese peacekeepers had conducted missions in and near the capital Juba to ensure the safety of UN peacekeepers and civilians, Yang noted.
Two Chinese soldiers were killed and five others were injured on July 10 following the escalation of the conflict, Yang added.
In another development, the Chinese military on Monday started shipping materials for the deployment of its first peacekeeping helicopter unit, departing from Tianjin Port in northern China.
The materials will arrive at Port Sudan in mid-November before arriving in mid-January at El Fasher, capital of North Darfur State, Sudan, Xinhua reported.
The unit, consisting of 140 soldiers and four helicopters, will be deployed for UN missions in South Sudan, including troop transportation, rescue and evacuation operations and supplying air logistics.
According to the Peacekeeping Office of the Ministry of National Defense, the unit has completed training and the refitting of helicopter and vehicle equipment.