China and UN in graphics: A contributor to world peace
Updated 13:29, 18-Sep-2020

China on Friday released a white paper on the participation of the country's armed forces in the United Nations (UN) peacekeeping operations.

Thirty years ago in 1990, China joined the first mission by sending five military observers to the Middle East. Over the past 30 years, some 40,000 Chinese peacekeepers have been dispatched to conflict-affected countries and areas in 25 UN peace operations.

"China's Blue Helmets have become a key force in UN peacekeeping," said the document.

Full Text: China's Armed Forces: 30 Years of UN Peacekeeping Operations

Currently, China has over 2,500 peacekeepers serving in UN peacekeeping missions, making it the largest troop-contributing country among the permanent members of the UN Security Council.

As the world's largest developing country, China also pays 15 percent of the UN peacekeeping budget and 12 percent of the UN regular budget, making it the second largest contributor of all member states. 

Assessments for member countries' contributions are made based on several criteria, including estimates of gross national income. China has been fully implementing its fiscal obligations to the organization and already paid this year's contribution in full.

The United States bears the largest share of both regular and peacekeeping budgets of the United Nations – but has long been delaying payment, with the membership fees overdue accounting for more than two thirds of the total arrears.

Related reading: China calls on member states to fulfill financial obligations to UN

At the UN Peacekeeping Summit in 2015, Chinese President Xi Jinping made a series of proposals and commitments to support the UN peacekeeping operations. The Chinese government and armed forces have taken concrete steps to honor the promises. 

In 2017, China completed the registration of a UN peacekeeping standby force of 8,000 troops with 28 units in ten categories. It has become the country with the largest number of standby peacekeeping troops of the most diversified profile. 

China also set up a permanent peacekeeping police squad in 2016, the first of its kind in the world.

Over the past five years, China responded actively to the UN call for more enabler assets including engineering and medical capabilities, and has provided 20 training programs to over 1,500 peacekeepers from more than 60 countries.

The China-UN Peace and Development Fund has provided a total of 67.7 million U.S. dollars for over 80 projects in areas ranging from peacekeeping to counter-terrorism as well as health and education, according to China's position paper on UN's 75th anniversary.

Defensive in nature

While actively supporting the world's peacekeeping cause, China has pursued a defense policy that is defensive in nature.

"Never seeking hegemony, expansion, or spheres of influence" is the distinctive feature of China's national defense, said a white paper titled "China's National Defense in the New Era" released last year by the Chinese government.

While the national defense spending in many world powers accounts for more than two percent of their GDP, the figure was only about 1.3 percent for China in 2018.

The ratio has remained below two percent for the past three decades. The defense expenditure as a share of government spending is also on a clear downward trend.

Compared with other major countries, China's defense budget takes up a fairly small share of its GDP and national fiscal expenditure. Its per capita and per-service person defense spending are at a relatively low level as well.

As the only major country yet to be completely reunified, and one of the countries with the most complex peripheral security environment, there is still "a wide gap between China's defense expenditure and the requirements for safeguarding national sovereignty, security and development interests, for fulfilling China's international responsibilities and obligations as a major country, and for China's development," according to last year's white paper.

China's defense expenditure will maintain a moderate and steady growth that is in step with national economic development, it pointed out.

In addition, China has been widely recognized and praised for long maintaining its commitment to global nuclear nonproliferation and disarmament efforts.

China will unswervingly follow the path of peaceful development, safeguard world peace and promote common development, President Xi said in his 2020 New Year message.

(With input from Xinhua)

Graphics: Du Chenxin