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Multilateralism and cooperation roads to peace: China Daily editorial | Updated: 2020-09-18 20:29
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Soldiers of the 19th Chinese multi-functional engineering contingent to Lebanon adjust each others' protective suits before a mine clearance operation. [Photo provided to]

What began with participation as an observer group to the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization 30 years ago has become a commitment to maintain peace in troubled and disaster-affected areas as part of the UN peacekeeping mission.

From the five military observers dispatched to the UNTSO in April 1990 to contributing more than 40,000 person-times to 25 UN peacekeeping operations, and from a 400-strong engineering unit of the People's Liberation Army dispatched to Cambodia in April 1992 to six units of the Chinese peacekeeping force passing the UN assessment and being elevated from Peacekeeping Capability Readiness System level 2 to level 3 in 2019 and 2020, the journey has been long, eventful and a learning experience.

On the 30th anniversary of joining the UN peacekeeping mission, China can claim some credit for helping maintain global peace, not least because it contributes the largest number of troops to UN peacekeeping missions among the permanent UN Security Council members and is the second-largest donor to the UN fund.

That the Chinese soldiers have earned praise for being devoted to the UN's noble cause and faithfully performing their duties — losing 16 of their "comrades in peace" in the process — testifies to their dedication to the cause.

The genial response the Chinese soldiers have received from the peoples of the countries and regions where they have served, and the UN commending them for doing their job well but more importantly for spreading the message of peace speak volumes of the governance philosophy China follows.

As a country scarred by wars and foreign invasions, China cherishes peace above all. And UN peacekeeping missions have provided it with the chance to restore and maintain peace in troubled areas. No wonder President Xi Jinping, addressing the Leaders' Summit on Peacekeeping of the UN in New York in September 2015, vowed to build a 8,000-member standby multitask force for UN peacekeeping.

Indeed, the modernization of the Chinese peacekeeping force will increase the UN's capacity to respond to emergencies.

The rules-based world order is being increasingly challenged by rising unilateralism, protectionism and hegemonism, and it can be effectively countered only with multilateralism and cooperation, the very essence on which the UN was founded 75 years ago.

So, as State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi said in his speech at the International Seminar on the 75th Anniversary of the United Nations early this month, for the "next 75 years, we call on all nations to make concerted efforts to safeguard multilateralism, stand on the right side of development and progress, and bring the work of the UN to a new level".

It is in the spirit of multilateralism that President Xi has called for building a community with a shared future for mankind. And since the UN is the embodiment of multilateralism and peace, China will do whatever it takes to further strengthen the world body and all its organizations including the peacekeeping arm to maintain global peace and promote development.

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