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Home >> China
UPDATED: 17:44, October 28, 2006
Chinese Blue Helmets play active role in Africa
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China is playing an increasingly active role in UN peacekeeping operations in Africa, having participated in a total of 12 UN peacekeeping operations in Africa, involving more than 3,000 personnel, a senior Chinese official has said.

"A total of 1,273 Chinese peacekeepers are now working for seven UN missions in Africa," said Xu Jinghu, the head of the Africa Department of the Chinese Foreign Ministry, ahead of the forthcoming China-Africa summit with the theme of "friendship, peace, cooperation and development" in Beijing. The summit is scheduled for Nov. 4 and 5 in Beijing.

With strict discipline, professional skills and high sense of humanitarian duty, Chinese peacekeepers have won respect from both the United Nations and local people.

In Liberia, the western African country that had just emerged from years of conflicts and chaos, China's engineering contingent has rehabilitated hundreds of kilometers of roads while the medical team has treated more than 3,000 patients.

On March 1, 2006, the Chinese peacekeepers serving in UN mission in Liberia were awarded UN peacekeeping medals.

Speaking at the medal distribution ceremony, Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General in Liberia Alan Doss said that through their engineering, transport and medical contingents, the Chinese have provided invaluable services since their first deployment in Liberia in November, 2003.

"The Engineering Contingent has to date repaired more than 700 kilometers of the main supply routes in its area of operation. This is a remarkable achievement given the deplorable road conditions in most rural parts of Liberia," said Doss.

In Sudan, a place famous for its searing heat, the first batch of Chinese peacekeeping troops received a task of building a road of three kilometers in barely a week after their arrival this May.

Despite the high temperature of over 50 degrees Celsius, Chinese soldiers completed the road within three days, winning applause from the UN official who checked the project.

The Chinese peacekeeping force to Sudan has settled in the southern city of Wau, less than 161 km from the conflict-plagued zone of Darfur. The 435 troops of engineering, transport and medicals will carry out various tasks during their six-and-a half year mission, the longest ever peacekeeping mission for Chinese.

Living conditions in the red desert of Wau are poor. No fresh vegetables are available, and regular disinfection is necessary to keep cholera and malaria at bay.

But Chinese peacekeeper Shan Jianhua said though new problems will crop up, the soldiers are ready to fight a hard war. "We're determined to submit a satisfactory scoresheet," Shan said.

David Harland, head of the evaluation division of the UN peacekeeping action department, has published an article titled " The Reason Why the UN Welcomes Chinese Peacekeeping Personnel," in which he cited the medical detachment and engineering detachment of the Chinese peacekeeping force in the Democratic Republic of Congo as examples and praised them for their excellent job.

He noted that as China is ready to take a more active part in the UN peacekeeping actions, the world has every reason to feel happy about this and it should welcome and encourage China to do so.

Source: Xinhua

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