Former acting head of UNMISS force: Chinese peacekeepers never fail their mission

China Military Online
Yao Jianing

BEIJING, May 17 (ChinaMil) -- China sent peacekeeping troops to South Sudan as early as May 2006. The first Chinese peacekeeping troops to South Sudan consisted of engineering, medical and transportation detachments, all deployed in Wau.

The transportation detachment completed their mission and returned China at the end of 2011. At present, there are an engineering detachment, a medical detachment and a peacekeeping infantry battalion with a total of 1,055 Chinese peacekeepers in South Sudan. South Sudan is the mission area to which China sends the most peacekeeping troops.

The peacekeeping infantry battalion is stationed in Juba of Sector South of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS). The medical and engineering detachments are deployed in Wau of Sector West of UNMISS.

Among the 1,055 peacekeepers currently dispatched to South Sudan, there are 700 peacekeeping infantry troops, 268 engineers, 63 medical personnel, and 24 staff officers and military liaison officers and military observers. There are also some peacekeeping policemen.

The missions undertaken by the Chinese peacekeeping force in the South Sudan include defense, weapons search, security patrol, armed guard duties, emergency response, refugee protection, war zone epidemic prevention, injury and medical treatment, medical training, road repair, camp construction, airport maintenance and humanitarian relief.

Major General Yang Chaoying, former acting head of the UNMISS force, said that Chinese troops have some outstanding features such as high ideological consciousness, high-quality training, excellent equipment, and strong logistic support. China’s troops have performed well and have been highly recognized and praised by the mission leaders and neighboring troops especially in terms of organizational discipline and resolute implementation of tasks.

In recent years, UN peacekeeping troops have continued to face accusations of sexual exploitation and abuse against local people while performing tasks in mission areas around the world. Major General Yang Chaoying said that Chinese peacekeepers are "irreproachable" in this regard.

"Chinese peacekeepers have gone through rigorous selection and training before carrying out their duties in the mission area. They regard the peacekeeping operations that represent the motherland and the UN as a matter of supreme glory. Moreover, strict discipline is a fine tradition of the Chinese military. Therefore, China’s peacekeeping forces have so far not had one case or serious violation of sexual exploitation or abuse," said Yang.

"The Chinese peacekeepers have also learned a lot in performing peacekeeping missions. Peacekeepers generally feel even more love for their motherland and peace, and cherish their lives more, after performing peacekeeping missions in turbulent security situations and harsh natural and complex humanistic environments. The peacekeeping experience also strengthened their confidence in defending the motherland. At the same time, in the diversified and culturally intertwined mission area, Chinese peacekeepers also broadened their horizons, increased their knowledge, and enhanced their communication skills on the international stage," Yang added.

Yang said that the UN peacekeeping operations are effective means to safeguard world peace, practice multilateralism, and achieve collective security. China's active participation in UN peacekeeping operations is a practical action to fulfill the responsibilities and obligations of major powers and safeguard world peace. It is also a concrete embodiment of the implementation of the major diplomatic policy and defensive national defense policy of China.

Maj. Gen. Yang was appointed acting head of the UNMISS force in November 2016. He felt deeply responsible and clearly realized the many challenges of the mission as a man with 40 years of military service.

Yang said: "The UNMISS has 27 detachments and its personnel are from more than 50 countries. There are great differences in personnel quality, training standards, weapons and equipment, support capabilities, and English proficiency among troops. Most of the officers and soldiers of the UNMISS do not have sufficient English language training, and therefore communication and the transmission of commands require translation, which often causes obstacles in understanding and implementation."

Yang Chaoying said that despite the challenges, the UNMISS is becoming more attentive and effective under the coordination of the UN leaders and commanders of the peacekeeping forces of various countries. All mission personnel, including Chinese peacekeepers, are making joint efforts to strive to fulfill the sacred peacekeeping mission entrusted to them by the UN Security Council, said Yang.

Reported by Li Maoqi from UN Headquarters in New York

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