China can help UN peacekeeping strategically

©Xinhua

Jim Della-Giacoma

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China can help UN peacekeeping respond strategically to conflicts, through both practical and political solutions, said Jim Della-Giacoma, deputy director of the Center on International Cooperation at New York University, in a recent interview with Xinhua.

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Della-Giacoma said the headline news from the recent UN Peacekeeping Summit was China's commitment to deploy a standing force of 8,000 troops, which he said could help the UN respond faster and more strategically to conflicts.

"The headline news from the peacekeeping summit is China's commitment to (deploy) a strategic force that would give the United Nations a much greater capability to hopefully react more quickly in difficult circumstances," said Della-Giacoma.

The summit also included commitments to provide additional training for peacekeepers, said Della-Giacoma, a former UN political affairs officer who is now also the editor-in-chief of the Global Peace Operations Review.

Della-Giacoma said that specialized training was needed to help peacekeepers address new challenges such as improvised explosive devices, as well as to help peacekeepers understand the countries they are working in.

Country specific and cultural sensitivity training could help "forces deploying understand wher e they are going and what they are trying to achieve," he added. "Often it's not the numbers that counts it's the quality and it's the strategy that counts."

POLITICAL SOLUTIONS PARAMOUNT

According to a recent High-Level Independent Review of UN Peace Operations, nicknamed HIPPO, the UN should ensure that UN peacekeepers are deployed in a way that supports political solutions to conflicts.

"The HIPPO reports main argument is to conceive peace operations as first and foremost political operations and only secondly as military operations where forces -- either police or troops -- are used to achieve a political goal," said Della-Giacoma.

Della-Giacoma said that as one of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, China could help UN peacekeeping to find political solutions to conflicts.

"It's not just boots on the ground that matters," he said, "all these missions need to be placed within a political strategy."

"I think China has the stature and the potential influence to broker those political agreements," he added.