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China to showcase peacekeeping role with UN Security Council visit

FILE PHOTO: UN Security Council

United Nations, United States | AFP | China has invited the UN Security Council for a visit this month that will showcase its growing support for peacekeeping and include a tour of the modern cities of Shenzhen and Guangzhou, the UN ambassador said on Thursday.

The visit will highlight China’s role as a global player at a time when the United States is pulling back from multilateral institutions like the United Nations.

As part of its Security Council presidency for November, China is also planning a debate on strengthening multilateralism and the role of the United Nations.

The council trip to Beijing and southern China marks a departure from the usual visits to conflict areas. China’s United Nations Ambassador Ma Zhaoxu called the trip a “side event” instead of a formal visit.

After the United States, China is the second largest financial contributor to the UN peacekeeping budget, but is the largest troop contributor of the council’s five permanent members.

About 2,500 Chinese peacekeepers are serving in complex missions in South Sudan, Mali, Sudan’s Darfur region and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Council ambassadors will tour a defense ministry training facility near Beijing, established for an 8,000-strong reserve force for UN peace operations.

“China is one of the major contributors to UN peacekeeping operations. We are attaching more and more importance to UN peacekeeping operations,” both financially and in terms of resources, Ma told a news conference.

The stops at Shenzhen and Guangzhou will allow ambassadors to get a feel for China’s development and reforms, he added. The visit is expected to take place around November 22 to 25.

Next week, China will chair a debate on strengthening multilateralism that follows calls during the UN gathering of world leaders in September to defend global institutions in the face of a US retreat.

President Donald Trump’s administration has cut funding to the United Nations, pulled out of the UN Human Rights Council and walked away from UN-backed agreements including the Paris climate accord and the Iran nuclear deal.

The November 9 debate will seek to shore up support for the United Nations.

The Chinese ambassador said “international rules and multilateral mechanisms are being undermined”, creating a world “filled with uncertainties and destabilizing factors.”

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