Full Text: The Diversified Employment of China's Armed Forces (9)

Source:Xinhua Published: 2013-4-16 10:31:16

Full Text: The Diversified Employment of China's Armed Forces (9)

In 1990, the PLA sent five military observers to the UN Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO) - the first time China had taken part in UN peacekeeping missions. In 1992, it dispatched an engineering corps of 400 officers and men to the UN Transitional Authority in Cambodia (UNTAC) - the first time China had sent an organic military unit on a peacekeeping mission. To date, the PLA has dispatched 22,000 military personnel to 23 UN peacekeeping missions. All of them have been awarded the UN peace medals. Three officers and six soldiers have laid down their lives performing such duties and were posthumously awarded the Dag Hammarskjold medal. So far, China is the biggest troop and police contributor among the five permanent members of the UN Security Council. It also dispatches the most numbers of troops for engineering, transportation and medical support among all the 115 contributing countries. China pays and contributes the largest share of UN peacekeeping costs among all developing countries.

As of December 2012, a total of 1,842 PLA officers and men are implementing peacekeeping tasks in nine UN mission areas. Among them, 78 are military observers and staff officers, 218 are engineering and medical personnel for the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO), 558 are engineering, transportation and medical personnel for the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL), 335 are engineering and medical personnel for the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), 338 are engineering and medical personnel for the United Nations Mission in the Republic of South Sudan (UNMISS) and 315 are engineering personnel for the African Union/United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID).

Tough, brave and devoted, Chinese peacekeepers accomplish all their tasks in an exemplary manner. Over the past 22 years, Chinese peacekeepers have built and repaired over 10,000 km of roads and 284 bridges, cleared over 9,000 mines and various types of unexploded ordnance (UXO), transported over one million tons of cargo across a total distance of 11 million km and treated 120,000 patients. The staff officers and military observers have displayed a high degree of professionalism in their work at the headquarters and in the tasks of patrol, ceasefire monitoring, liaison and negotiation. The Chinese engineering units to the Democratic Republic of the Congo worked day and night to level an area of 16,000 square meters littered with volcanic rocks. The Chinese transportation units to Liberia have worked throughout the country and served as the transportation support center for nearly 50 peacekeeping troops there. Chinese peacekeepers also build roads and bridges, repair vehicles and transport materials for, as well as deliver medical assistance and impart agricultural technology to local people. The Chinese engineering units to Lebanon invented the method of "tilted cross positioning" in minesweeping, which has greatly raised the safety and efficiency of such operations. They can now cover an average of over 500 square meters per day with this method. During the Lebanon-Israel conflict in 2006, over 3,500 unexploded bombs were defused and disposed of. The Chinese engineering units to Darfur, Sudan, dug 13 wells in areas where well digging was deemed impossible. The Chinese engineering units to South Sudan built the first interim training center for Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration (DDR) at a high standard, making a positive contribution to the local peace process.

Chinese peacekeepers strictly abide by the code of personal conduct for UN peacekeepers, rules of engagement and laws of host countries. They respect local religious beliefs and customs, and conscientiously observe the mission regulations and rules for the Chinese peacekeeping troops, thereby winning trust from the local people.

International Disaster Relief and Humanitarian Aid

China's armed forces take an active part in international disaster relief and humanitarian aid operations organized by the government. They provide relief supplies and medical aid, dispatch specialized rescue teams to disaster-stricken countries, provide mine-sweeping assistance and carry out international exchanges of rescue and disaster reduction.

Since 2002 the PLA has undertaken 36 urgent international humanitarian aid missions, and transported relief materials worth more than RMB1.25 billion to 27 disaster-stricken countries. Since 2001, the Chinese International Search and Rescue (CISAR) Team, composed of officers and men from the engineering regiment of the Beijing Military Area Command, medical personnel from the PAPF General Hospital and experts from the China Earthquake Administration, has participated in eight international rescue operations. Since 2010, PLA medical assistance teams have been sent three times to Haiti and Pakistan to carry out international humanitarian medical rescue operations, and the helicopter rescue team of the army aviation has been sent to Pakistan to assist flood-relief operations there.

In March 2011 a devastating earthquake and tsunami hit Japan. The CISAR rushed to Japan and participated in the search-and-rescue operations. In July 2011 heavy floods battered Thailand. The PLAAF sent four aircraft to transport to Bangkok more than 90 tons of relief materials provided by China's Ministry of National Defense to the Thai armed forces. In September 2011, when disastrous floods struck Pakistan, the PLAAF dispatched five aircraft to deliver 7,000 tents to Karachi, and the Lanzhou Military Area Command sent a medical-care and epidemic-prevention team to Kunri, the worst-hit area.

China's armed forces actively provide medical care and aid to developing countries, and participate in international medical exchanges and cooperation, thus strengthening friendship and mutual trust with them. From 2010 to 2011, PLAN's hospital ship Peace Ark visited five countries in Asia and Africa and four countries in Latin America to provide "Harmonious Mission" humanitarian medical service. In 193 days the voyage covered 42,000 nautical miles, and nearly 50,000 people received medical services. In recent years, the PLA medical team has also provided medical service to local people in Gabon, Peru and Indonesia while participating in joint humanitarian medical drills.

The Chinese government attaches great importance to the solution of humanitarian problems caused by landmines. It actively supports and participates in international de-mining efforts. Since 1999, the PLA, in collaboration with relevant departments of the PRC government, has provided de-mining assistance to nearly 40 Asian, African and Latin American countries through offering training courses, sending experts to give on-site instruction, and donating de-mining equipment. As a result, the PLA has trained more than 400 mine-clearance personnel for foreign countries, guided the clearance of more than 200,000 square meters of land-mine areas and donated mine-clearance equipment worth RMB 60 million. (more)

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