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Thread: China commits combat troops to Mali

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    China commits combat troops to Mali

    Here comes the Chinese.



    China commits combat troops to Mali - FT.com

    June 27, 2013 2:14 pm
    China commits combat troops to Mali

    By Kathrin Hille in Beijing

    China has publicly committed combat troops on a UN peacekeeping mission for the first time, marking a big shift in Beijing’s foreign policy.

    “We will send comprehensive security forces to Mali for the first time,” Wang Yi, foreign minister, said in a speech at a security forum in Beijing on Thursday. Chinese officials and scholars said this meant Beijing’s contingent would include combat troops.

    “This is a major breakthrough in our participation in peacekeeping,” said Chen Qian, head of the UN Association of China, a Chinese think tank. “With this, our contribution will be complete. We will have policemen, medical forces, engineering troops and combat troops.”

    Having close to 1,900 personnel deployed as of December last year, China is already the largest contributor to UN peacekeeping missions among the five permanent member countries of the UN Security Council. But Beijing has long shied away from sending combat troops.

    This was partly because non-intervention in other countries’ internal affairs and the refusal to use external military force to settle conflicts in other countries among the sacred principles on which Beijing’s foreign policy rests. In addition, the Chinese government has been reluctant to fuel global concern over its rapid military modernisation by letting the People’s Liberation Army go on global missions too quickly.

    But the political and military leadership have gradually become more flexible over the past few years, with statements acknowledging that China’s hunger for resources and its growing investments and travel abroad have expanded its interests beyond its immediate neighbourhood.

    Mr Wang, in the first speech outlining the principles and trends in Chinese foreign policy since he became minister in March, indicated that Beijing did not want to be seen as changing its foreign policy radically as it rises to global power status. He reiterated the time-tested principles of non-intervention and rejection of military force as a means of conflict resolution. But when outlining China’s challenges, he also mentioned the need to align its foreign policy with its expanding global interests.

    The People’s Liberation Army has been reviewing the possibility of sending combat troops on UN missions for at least four years. Early last year, it took a preparatory step by sending some infantry on a mission to South Sudan who were given the task of guarding and protecting their own medical and engineering colleagues.

    A source familiar with the Mali mission said China’s Mali commitment was not different from the South Sudan participation in substance, but the government’s public announcement showed that sending troops that might have to fight was now accepted policy.

    This week, the UN Security Council formally approved a peacekeeping contingent to start operations in the African country from July 1. But the council said it still needed more troop commitments.

    Ban Ki-moon, UN secretary-general, thanked China during a visit to Beijing last week for its “strong and growing operational and political engagement with peacekeeping”.

    In January, France and Chad began a military offensive aimed at driving out Islamist fighters who took the opportunity of an uprising by Touareg rebels in Mali to grab more than half of the country’s territory. The UN mission is to take over from France.

    Military experts familiar with China’s discussions with the UN on the Mali mission said Beijing was likely to send at least 500 men on the mission which is to have a total headcount of 12,600, forming one of China’s largest ever peacekeeping contingents. But it is unclear whether the UN’s peacekeeping office has decided yet whether to take up China’s offer.

    Additional reporting by Zhao Tianqi in Beijing
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    Quote Originally Posted by xinhui View Post
    In January, France and Chad began a military offensive aimed at driving out Islamist fighters who took the opportunity of an uprising by Touareg rebels in Mali to grab more than half of the country’s territory. The UN mission is to take over from France.
    I imagine that there will be some furious harvesting happening here.... It might be small beans in the scheme of things, but its an ideal canned opportunity to improve knowledge

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    Yeah, folks are already over all this one -- their C4I with the forward unit would be "interesting" to look at. I am still trying to find out where the PLA UN combined battalion is coming from. My guess would be the 127th light mech division.
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    Quote Originally Posted by xinhui View Post
    Yeah, folks are already over all this one -- their C4I with the forward unit would be "interesting" to look at. I am still trying to find out where the PLA UN combined battalion is coming from. My guess would be the 127th light mech division.
    It will be very interesting - the French are also a very good outfit when it comes to "understanding the environment" /TIC

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    Will be interesting to see the PLA set up.

    ==============
    OT...
    This was partly because non-intervention in other countries’ internal affairs and the refusal to use external military force to settle conflicts in other countries among the sacred principles on which Beijing’s foreign policy rests. In addition, the Chinese government has been reluctant to fuel global concern over its rapid military modernisation by letting the People’s Liberation Army go on global missions too quickly.
    What the shit ^^

    Christ talk about a whore... Beijing in Kathrin Hille...
    Last edited by troung; 30 Jun 13, at 23:12.
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    Quote Originally Posted by xinhui View Post
    Yeah, folks are already over all this one -- their C4I with the forward unit would be "interesting" to look at. I am still trying to find out where the PLA UN combined battalion is coming from. My guess would be the 127th light mech division.
    I read that China is well versed in Peacekeeping missions: ''Since 1990, China has sent 15,603 peacekeeping soldiers on 18 UN peacekeeping missions.
    By the end of last month(July 2010) China had 1,960 peacekeeping soldiers in nine UN peacekeeping missions, including those in Liberia, Congo, Sudan, and Lebanon''.

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    Lukins Reply

    "I read that China is well versed in Peacekeeping missions..."

    Not sure they've handled something like...oh, Beirut 1983. I think they've been largely able to piggy-back on the security efforts of others. Providing force protection measures which don't impede the primary mission while facing a fluid, nebulous political environment may be a good test. Mali qualifies in every respect.
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    The actual operations is an old hat. Everyone has done it and what the Chinese doesn't know, there are more than a few foreign officers who will give them a hint, ie, don't list everything to the UN in their proper terms. An APC is a truck, so list it as a truck.

    I'm not concerned about this deployment. It's a 1980s style deployment being carried out in 2013. There are enough stories and reports the Chinese can gleamed through to get their operational details. What's missing can be found out but would not be a disaster in the making.

    What I am curious about, however, is the battlegroup Colonel and the Area CO. Would they have the guts to initiate lethal combat actions against UN guidelines ... and even UN orders. As a follow up, would Beijing back their officers against the UN or court-martial them for violating UN orders?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Officer of Engineers View Post
    What I am curious about, however, is the battlegroup Colonel and the Area CO. Would they have the guts to initiate lethal combat actions against UN guidelines ... and even UN orders. As a follow up, would Beijing back their officers against the UN or court-martial them for violating UN orders?
    If you don't have that resolve any peacekeeping operation becomes impossible in my view. It will be interesting to see how they handle it but my guess is that the green light is already given; do what you have to.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dave lukins View Post
    I read that China is well versed in Peacekeeping missions: ''Since 1990, China has sent 15,603 peacekeeping soldiers on 18 UN peacekeeping missions.
    By the end of last month(July 2010) China had 1,960 peacekeeping soldiers in nine UN peacekeeping missions, including those in Liberia, Congo, Sudan, and Lebanon''.
    But they were support troops, I recall they only engaged in a few fire fights. Anyways, latest for the Chinese DM, the first detachment will be 400 troops.
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    first group of 400, they are members of 16th Group Army, Shangyang MR's recon elements organic to the corp HQ.
    They are bringing some WZ551 (type 92) IFV with them.
    “the misery of being exploited by capitalists is nothing compared to the misery of not being exploited at all” -- Joan Robinson

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