China pledges 8,000 troops to UN peacekeeping force

The agreement could make China one of the largest contributors to UN peacekeeping efforts

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China will contribute 8,000 troops to a United Nations peacekeeping force, President Xi Jinping has pledged.

Addressing the UN General Assembly, he said the agreement could make China one of the largest contributors to UN peacekeeping efforts, with the planned “standby force” available for deployment at short notice.  

Mr Xi said: “China will join the new UN 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”.

In his first ever appearance at the UN General Assembly on Monday, Mr Xi also agreed to give $1.1 billion to support UN and African nation peacekeeping efforts.

“Let the vision of a world free of war with lasting peace take root in our hearts,” Mr Xi said.

The day before, Mr Xi pledged $2 billion for meeting post-2015 global development goals and a further $10 million was pledged to the UN agency promoting women’s rights.

On his state visit to Washington on Friday, Mr Xi pledged an additional $3.1 billion to help developing countries combat climate change as well as agreeing with Mr Obama that both China and the US would increase their “robust” peacekeeping commitments.

The moves appear to be part of an effort to diminish international concerns surrounding China’s territorial claims in the South Chinese sea and override Western disapproval about the Chinese government’s strict limits on human rights for anyone considered an opponent of the one-party rule.

Mr Xi said on Monday that China would never seek to put its interest above international justice, adding that China would give “favourable consideration” to future UN requests for Chinese engineering, transport and medical staff.

Despite his peace-making pledges, there was criticism over the decision to allow the Chinese president to co-chair a UN meeting on women’s issues on Sunday. Democratic presidential candidate Hilary Clinton said China’s detention and harassment of women’s rights activists should disqualify him from such as position.

World leaders from more than 50 countries pledged some 40,000 troops and police, and equipment or training for UN peacekeeping missions during Monday’s UN summit chaired by US President Barack Obama.

Additional reporting by Press Association