China to send peacekeeping troops to Mali

Beijing, June 28 (IANS) In a first, Chinese armed forces will be sent on a peacekeeping mission in the west African country of Mali, the government has said.

According to defence ministry, it is the first time that Chinese armed forces will dispatch its security forces for peacekeeping mission.

At the request of the UN, the Chinese government will dispatch nearly 400 servicemen to join the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilisation Mission in Mali (MINUSMA), including engineering, medical and guard teams, reported Xinhua citing a defence ministry spokesperson Yang Yujun Thursday.

The main purpose of the UN peacekeeping forces is to help relevant countries to restore and maintain peace, prevent wars and monitor ceasefires, Yang said, noting that peacekeeping personnel should not be directly involved in military conflicts in host countries.

Replying to a question, Yang said there is no so-called combat forces in UN peacekeeping forces..

"The Chinese security force is actually a guard team that will mainly be responsible for the security of the MINUSMA headquarters and the living areas of peacekeeping forces," he said.

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