Chinese Premier Li will emphasize peacekeeping at UN General Assembly

World Today

UN peacekeepers in Africa.UN peacekeepers assembly in Africa.

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang has arrived in New York for the 71st United Nations General Assembly. He will attend the U.N.’s first ever summit on refugees and migrants before delivering a speech to world leaders slated for Wednesday.

Premier Li will also follow up on pledges made by Chinese President Xi Jinping last year – including big commitments to stretched peacekeeping operations. CCTV America’s Nathan King brought us this report.

Since 2015 nearly 200 blue helmets have been killed around the world with the mission in Mali being the most dangerous.

It’s not just manpower these missions need – but also all the tools of a modern military.

Nick Birnback, a U.N. Peacekeeper, says what we need is expensive.

“Like aviation like combat engineers, like signalers these are fairly rare in the force structures of traditional contributors to peacekeeping, which is one of the reasons why we need new countries to come on board that have these capabilities within their force structures,” Birnback said.

Last year in New York, President Xi Jinping pledged 8,000 troops for U.N. peacekeeping.This makes China the largest contributor to U.N. Peacekeeping among Security Council members.

That fits into a plan to overhaul the peacekeeping department – focusing on what’s being called the three P’s: Planning, Pledges and Performance.

The UN is already relying more on technology, using drones to gather intelligence in potential trouble spots like the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Doing more with less is the new mandate. Peacekeeping uses a whopping 75 percent of the U.N.’s budget, with many missions deployed in areas for years and precious little peace to keep. But the U.N. says the missions bring value for money and much more besides.

“The $8 billion plus of the U.N. budget is a fraction of the world’s military expenditure,” Birnback said. “For that $8 billion you get 16 operations in a variety of incredibly complicated places -and I think that U.N. peacekeeping has a demonstrated record of helping people have a fighting chance of peace.”

Peacekeeping’s image has been tarnished by a slew of sex scandals, allegedly involving peacekeepers and the civilians they are meant to protect.

With trials for some of the accused underway, the U.N. is sending a message of zero tolerance for misconduct.

Chinese Premier Li is also expected to push the G20 agenda adopted in Hangzhou, which calls for a more inclusive global economy.