By Luo Zheng
QINGDAO, Jun. 28 (ChinaMil) -- "China plays a key role in the UN peacekeeping operations, and it showcases China's sense of responsibility to the world," said Lieutenant General Carlos Humberto Loitey of Uruguay, Military Adviser for UN Secretary-General (UNSG), during an interview by the PLA Daily on June Thursday. He spoke highly of the important contributions made by China and the Chinese military to the UN peacekeeping operations.
Lieutenant General Carlos Humberto Loitey of Uruguay has worked in the United Nations Mission in the Central African Republic and Chad (MINURCAT) for many years. Serving as the Military Adviser for the UNSG, he heads the Office of Military Affairs of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations in the UN. He is responsible for the formation, deployment, training and testing of UN peacekeeping forces, as well as formulating military policies on peacekeeping operations. Recently, Lieutenant General Loitey came to China to attend the 7th ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF)-Peacekeeping Experts Conference which was held in Qingdao, east China's Shandong Province.
Lieutenant General Loitey said that the Chinese military has dispatched many senior officers for peacekeeping operations apart from sending peacekeeping troops to Sudan, South Sudan, Lebanon, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mali and other countries. Earlier, there were Chinese officers serving as commanders of the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) and the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP). In the near future, a Chinese officer will travel to South Sudan to serve as deputy commander of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS). "I have always felt China’s firm support for the UN peacekeeping cause during my work in the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations," he added.
Since 1990, the Chinese military have participated in 24 UN peacekeeping operations, with more than 40,000 military personnel involved, and 13 of whom have sacrificed their precious lives on the front line of peacekeeping operations. At present, there are altogether more than 2,500 Chinese officers and soldiers executing missions in seven UN mission areas and at the UN Headquarters.
Lieutenant General Loitey said that China is one of the main troop-contributing countries for UN peacekeeping operations. Chinese peacekeepers have always performed well in various mission areas. "The Chinese peacekeeping troops’ strong sense of mission is admirable. Whenever we intend to carry out actions, the Chinese peacekeepers always actively share their experience with us and provide support for us," he added.
During nearly 30 years’ participation in peacekeeping operations, Chinese peacekeeping officers and soldiers have cleared more than 12,500 mines and unexploded explosives, and transported 1.35 million tons of various materials and equipment with a total transportation mileage of over 13.8 million kilometers. In addition, they have treated 216,000 patients, and successfully fulfilled more than 600 patrols and armed escorts of long or short journeys. The Chinese peacekeeping forces have made positive contributions to promoting the peaceful settlement of disputes, safeguarding regional security and stability, and accelerating the economic and social development of the countries concerned. They have also won acclaim from the local governments and people of the mission area and the international community due to their contributions.
Lieutenant General Loitey is deeply impressed by the Chinese military. He said: "The Chinese peacekeepers are very professional and have a strong sense of responsibility. They are friendly, open-minded, and full of combat capability. It’s our honor to work with the Chinese military personnel."
In September 2015, Chinese President Xi Jinping made six commitments in support of UN peacekeeping operations when attending the Leaders' Summit for UN Peacekeeping. Over the past three years, China has established an 8,000-person peacekeeping standby force and two standing police forces for peacekeeping operations. There are several engineering, transportation and medical forces in the peacekeeping standby force, which are three engineering companies, two transportation companies, four secondary hospitals, two medium-sized multi-purpose helicopter detachments, two transport aircraft detachments, etc. The Chinese military has trained nearly 2,000 peacekeepers for various countries, carried out many mine-clearance assistance programs, offered free military assistance to the African Union (AU), and deployed peacekeeping helicopter detachments to Africa. What’s more, China has provided a total of US$1 billion to the United Nations Peace and Development Trust Fund (UNPDF) which will contribute to the building of peacekeeping capacity, facilitate the UN to strengthen the support for peacekeepers’ security, and support developing countries in building peacekeeping capacities.
"China has endeavored to improve and support UN peacekeeping operations and done plenty of fruitful work," said Lieutenant General Loitey, who believes that the Chinese military has been a strong supporter for UN peacekeeping operations at different levels and especially in the construction of peacekeeping standby forces, because that will help the UN better fulfill its peacekeeping missions.