China has emphasized its role in UN peacekeeping operations with its hosting of multinational drills that ended yesterday.
The 10-day exercise in central Henan Province featured about 1,000 troops from China, Mongolia, Pakistan and Thailand.
They practiced mounting armed escorts, security patrols, construction of temporary bases, civilian protection and counterterrorism.
Chinese weapons, equipment and facilities were at the forefront throughout the exercises, underscoring the country’s standing as the largest contributor of peacekeeping forces among the seven permanent members of the UN Security Council. China has the world’s largest standing military with increasingly sophisticated capabilities to challenge the US, its main global strategic rival.
In one of the simulated counterterrorism drills, an explosive-laden vehicle was driven toward a UN base, while attackers shot at peacekeepers and threw gasoline bombs. The drill was based on an incident where a Chinese peacekeeping base in Mali came under attack.
China has about 2,500 peacekeepers assigned to eight separate missions.
The exercise comes on the 50th anniversary of the recognition of the People’s Republic of China as the representative of China at the UN, resulting in the expulsion of Taiwan, which Beijing continues to claim as its own territory to be brought under its control by military force if necessary.
Among the other participants in the exercises, Pakistan is a long-time ally of Beijing, while China in recent years has been courting Thailand through investment and military cooperation. Mongolia is sandwiched between China and Russia and is heavily dependent on its southern neighbor to purchase its natural resources.
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