In Beijing, top peacekeeping official discusses China's expanded role in UN missions
Jean-Marie Guéhenno, Under Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, met with senior officials from the Ministry of Defence and Ministry of Public Security. He also visited the Police Academy where a new training centre for UN civilian police will be built to meet the needs of China's desire to be more active in peacekeeping operations.
According to a UN spokesman, Chinese officials told Mr. Guéhenno that China now had a number of standby units - mostly medical and engineering - ready to be deployed with UN operations within 90 days.
Mr. Guéhenno was also informed that, if needed, China could dispatch a medical unit to the UN Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC), and that an engineering unit would also be ready in the future. The Under-Secretary-General agreed to send over a UN team to inspect the medical team.
"[Mr. Guéhenno] went there knowing that China had an interest in expanding its presence in UN peacekeeping and so he explored with them during this visit the various ways that they could do that," spokesman Fred Eckhard told the press in New York. "They did make it clear that they're not yet talking about combat troops but support units of various sorts."