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China and Africa in the New Era: A Partnership of Equals

China Daily | Updated: 2021-11-27 09:59

5. Cooperation on Peace and Security

Without security and stability, there can be no development. As a constructive participant in peace and security affairs in Africa, China has always championed the principle of African people solving African issues in their own ways, and advocated the need to address root causes as well as symptoms and seek cooperation for the benefit of all parties. It supports the right of African countries and the AU to play a leading role in the region's peace and security affairs. China supports their efforts to promote peace and stability and fight against terrorism. China endorses the "Silence the Guns in Africa" initiative in countries and regional organizations such as the AU. China will continue to support the UN in providing financial support for the AU's independent peacekeeping operations. Based on the principles of respecting the will of African countries, not interfering in African countries' internal affairs, and observing the basic norms governing international relations, China is actively exploring constructive participation in promoting and maintaining peace and security in Africa.

Panel 5 China supports Africa in building capacity for independent peacekeeping missions

In September 2015, President Xi announced at the UN Leaders' Summit on Peacekeeping that China would provide $100 million in military aid to the AU. At the FOCAC Beijing Summit in September 2018, President Xi announced the launch of a China-Africa peace and security initiative and the decision to set up a China-Africa peace and security fund, increasing support to the African Standby Force and African Capacity for Immediate Response to Crisis. After the summits, China delivered on its $100-million military aid to the AU and an additional $80-million military aid to assist in building its independent peacekeeping capacity. China also provided RMB300 million to support the construction of the G5 Sahel Joint Force.

China and Africa continue to expand exchanges and hold dialogues in the field of peace and security. Since 2019, China has co-hosted or hosted the Dialogue on the Implementation of China-Africa Peace and Security Initiative, the First China-Africa Peace and Security Forum, and the Video Conference on Military Medicine under the forum. It has also actively participated in important conferences or forums held by African countries in related fields. The Chinese government's special representative for African affairs has actively engaged in mediation efforts in Africa, and played a unique and constructive role in Africa's peace and security endeavors. Through various means such as port calls and joint exercises and training, China has provided strong support to African countries in strengthening national defense and the armed forces, and to countries in the Sahel region and those bordering the Gulf of Aden and the Gulf of Guinea in upholding security and combating terrorism in their regions. China has launched assistance programs and helped train African military personnel under the Belt and Road Initiative, and in areas of law and order, UN peacekeeping missions, fighting piracy and combating terrorism. China supports the UN in playing an important role in maintaining peace and stability in Africa. Among the permanent members of the UN Security Council, China has sent the largest number of peacekeepers to the continent.

Since China first took part in UN peacekeeping operations in 1990, more than 80 percent of its peacekeepers have been deployed in Africa. Over 30,000 Chinese peacekeepers have been sent to Africa to perform tasks in 17 peacekeeping mission areas. More than 1,800 peacekeepers are currently performing missions in five of these areas-Mali, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (the DRC), Abyei, South Sudan and Western Sahara. In accordance with UN Security Council resolutions, the PLA Navy has deployed regular convoys in the Gulf of Aden since 2008. To date it has dispatched 39 escort taskforces, providing protection to approximately 7,000 Chinese and foreign vessels in about 1,400 groups. China also decided to donate 300,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines to UN peacekeepers, with priority given to those in African mission areas. As of August 2020, a total of 11 Chinese military peacekeepers had sacrificed their lives for the noble cause of peace in Africa.

China and Africa embrace the expansion of orderly personnel exchanges. They have worked on consular cooperation, increased cooperation between law enforcement departments, and acted against various cross-border crimes. In 2019 Chinese citizens made 607,000 visits to the African continent, while the number of African visitors to China reached 685,000. Growth in personnel exchanges promotes the rapid development of consular relations. In terms of strengthening law enforcement capacity in African countries, since 2018 China has trained over 2,000 African law enforcement officers and provided police supplies. It has dispatched peacekeeping police to African mission areas under the aegis of the UN, and collaborated in dealing with criminal cases, intelligence exchanges, experience-sharing and joint operations under the framework of Interpol.

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