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U.N. official commends China's role in peacekeeping
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12:22, November 17, 2007

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The U.N. peacekeeping chief on Friday spoke highly of the "growing importance" of China in peacekeeping.

China has been contributing troops or police to an increasing number of U.N. peacekeeping missions in many parts of the world, Jean-Marie Guehenno, undersecretary-general for peacekeeping, told reporters at the U.N. Headquarters before he departs New York Saturday for a visit to China.

The growing importance of China in peacekeeping has been recognized with the recent appointment of Chinese Major General Zhao Jingmin as the first Chinese commander of a U.N. peacekeeping operation.

"That is also a recognition of the very good involvement of China in peacekeeping," Guehenno said.

Zhao currently serves as force commander of the United Nations mission for the referendum in Western Sahara.

At the briefing, Guehenno praised the commitment of Chinese troops to the U.N. peacekeeping cause.

Chinese peacekeeping personnel, including military observers, doctors and engineers, have been "doing very well" in their respective missions, he said.

Some Chinese military observers have forfeited their lives for their commitment to the United Nations, Guehenno said, citing the case of Du Zhaoyu, a Chinese military observer who died during the war in Lebanon in the summer of 2006.

By providing services such as offering medical care and building bridges, Chinese doctors and engineers not only served their own missions well but also helped the local population, he said.

They helped create a "sympathy between the peacekeeping force and the population," he said. "It does lasting service to the country and it helps the force as it performs its duties."

Guehenno said he looks forward to his upcoming visit to China, his second since 2002.

During the visit, which will last until Wednesday, Guehenno will attend a peacekeeping seminar cosponsored by China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and hold a series of high-level meetings with Chinese government and military officials.

Source: Xinhua

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