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Remarks by Amb. Zhang Jun at the Security Council Open Video Conference on United Nations Peacekeeping Operations

2020-06-04 11:26

Mr. President,

I thank you for convening this meeting and USG Lacroix for his introductory remarks. I also wish to thank the Force Commanders of MINUSMA, UNMISS and UNDOF for their briefings. We just marked the memorial of International Day of UN Peacekeepers last week. Today through commanders I wish to once again pay tribute to all military personnel deployed in the 13 United Nations peacekeeping missions for their coverage, sacrifice and contribution.

UN peacekeeping is an important instrument of maintaining international peace and security. It plays an irreplaceable role in helping stabilize the situation in host countries and create conditions for political settlement. Therefore, peacekeeping operations overall have been well recognized and supported by Member States. Meanwhile, we must recognize the challenges they face. At present, being deployed in conflict areas, peacekeepers bear the brunt of wars and conflicts. They have a stronger yearning for peace, higher hopes for the United Nations and greater expectations for the peacekeeping operations. At the same time, peacekeeping operations are faced with the threats such as violence escalation, terrorism and diseases. Since peacekeepers carry out their missions, implement their mandates, and face dangers on behalf of the UN, the Security Council should do its utmost to help resolve relevant problems. The safety and security of peacekeepers should be treated with greater urgency.

Under the special circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic, UN peacekeepers are fighting shoulder to shoulder with local people against the pandemic. It’s a difficult time for UN peacekeepers. In particular, some peacekeepers in areas such as Mali and South Sudan are infected. China stands with the UN and its Member States to jointly tackle the impact of COVID-19 on peacekeeping operations and advance Secretary-General’s A4P initiative. Let me share with you the following points:

First, we should keep the right direction of peacekeeping operations. We should adhere to the purposes and principles of the UN Charter and the fundamental principles for peacekeeping operations, and respect the ownership of host countries. This is key to the success of peacekeeping operations. The UN Charter explicitly calls for political settlement of disputes, which is the ultimate goal of UN peacekeeping. The primacy of political settlement should be reflected in every aspect of the peacekeeping operations. Peacekeeping operations should ensure smooth communication with host countries at all stages of deployment. Relevant issues must be addressed through timely consultations, and the sovereignty of host countries must be respected. This is conducive to the implementation of the mandates and the safety and security of peacekeepers.

Second, the impact of COVID-19 on peacekeeping operations should be properly addressed. The pandemic is a big test for peacekeeping operations. The Secretariat and peacekeeping missions should take necessary measures to formulate epidemic response policies, regulate the activities of peacekeepers and increase medical support facilities, adjust the rotation policy in light of the development of the pandemic, and enhance the anti-epidemic capability of the missions. We commend the measures proposed by USG Lacroix in this regard, and believe that through our joint efforts, we can fundamentally reduce the risk of transmission in peacekeeping missions.

Third, the safety and security of peacekeepers should be ensured with utmost efforts. Peacekeeping operations are faced with more complex and dangerous environment and challenges. It is our shared responsibility to improve the safety and security of peacekeepers. The Security Council should continue to attach great importance to this issue, formulate mandates based on the situation on the ground, and ensure adequate resources for peacekeeping missions to perform their mandates. Member States and the Secretariat should fully implement Security Council Resolution 2518, help TCCs and peacekeeping missions enhance their early warning ability, the health support and critical medical capacities, and improve relevant training. Currently, we should improve the system of medical support and casualty evacuation for injured peacekeepers, and ensure adequate medical facilities and qualified personnel are deployed in the field, in full accordance with Security Council resolution 2518.

China is the second largest financial contributor and a major troop contributor to UN peacekeeping operations. 2,500 peacekeepers from China are currently serving in 9 mission areas. Peacekeeping carries the mission of peace. China will continue taking concrete actions to honor its commitment to multilateralism and world peace and contribute even more to UN peacekeeping.

Thank you, Mr. President.

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