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China Affirms UN Peacekeeping Role     09/15 06:08

   

   QUESHAN, China (AP) -- China has emphasized its role in United Nations 
peacekeeping operations with its hosting of multinational exercises that ended 
Wednesday.

   The 10 day-long drills in the central province of Henan featured around 
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 in the forefront throughout 
the exercises, underscoring the country's standing as the largest contributor 
of peacekeeping forces among the seven permanent members of the U.N. Security 
Council. China has the world's largest standing military with increasingly 
sophisticated capabilities to challenge the United States, its main global 
strategic rival.

   In one simulated counterterrorism drill, an explosive-laden vehicle was 
driven toward a U.N. base while attackers shot at peacekeepers and threw 
Molotov cocktails. The drill was based on an incident where a Chinese 
peacekeeping base in Mali came under attack.

   China currently has around 2,500 peacekeepers assigned to eight separate 
missions.

   The exercise comes on the 50th anniversary of the recognition of the 
People's Republic as the representative of China at the United Nations, 
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.

   The drills also come at a time of prolonged tensions between China and India 
over their disputed border and uncertainty over Afghanistan's security after 
U.S. and foreign forces withdrew from the country in August.

   Among the other participants in the exercises, Pakistan is a longtime 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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