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China to contribute 8,000 troops to UN peacekeeping force

China will contribute 8,000 troops to a United Nations peacekeeping standby force, according to statements made by China’s President Xi Jinping at the United Nations General Assembly on Monday.

The move could make it one of the largest players in U.N. peacekeeping efforts, following a state visit to Washington on Friday, where Xi agreed with U.S. President Barack Obama that both countries would increase their “robust” peacekeeping commitments.

They are among leaders from more than 50 countries who pledged some 40,000 troops and police, as well as equipment or training for U.N. peacekeeping missions during a U.N. summit chaired on Monday by Obama.

Xi’s pledge comes as China is trying to show it is a responsible international player amid concern over its growing military might and territorial disputes in the Asia-Pacific region.

“China will join the new U.N. peacekeeping capability readiness system, and has thus decided to lead in setting up a permanent peacekeeping police squad and build a peacekeeping standby force of 8,000 troops,” Xi said.

He also said China would provide $100 million in military assistance to the African Union in the next five years to support the establishment of an African standby force and to boost its capacity for crisis response.

At the later summit, Xi said part of a new 10-year, $1 billion China-U.N. peace and development fund set up by China would be used for peacekeeping operations.

Xi said that China would consider future U.N. requests for more Chinese engineering, transport and medical staff, but operations’ “exit strategies need to be timely formulated and executed”, Xi said.

Image courtesy of  Edilson Rodrigues via Flickr 

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