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Leaders pledge 40,000 troops to UN

September 29, 2015

More than 50 world leaders have pledged to increase the UN peacekeeping force by 40,000 troops and police. China committed 8,000 troops and $1 billion (887 million euros).

UN peacekeepers in the Central African Republic.
Image: picture-alliance/AA/

The pledges to increase the global peacekeeping force come as UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told world leaders gathered at a summit on Monday that “the demand for peacekeeping has never been greater.”

The UN currently has some 125,000 troops, police and civilian personnel in 16 operations on four continents, but has been strained by multiple conflicts and the changing nature of peacekeeping operations.

"The situations into which peacekeepers are deployed have never been more challenging, as tasks multiply and we face extremists, criminal groups and others who show no regard for international humanitarian or human rights law," Ban said.

The summit was headed by US President Barack Obama, whose administration has called for a modernization of UN peacekeeping operations and the creation of a rapid reaction force. The US covers nearly a quarter of the UN peacekeeping budget of $8.2 billion (7.3 billion euros), but contributes fewer than one hundred advisers.

China ups role

The big pledge came from China, which announced it will contribute 8,000 troops for a UN peacekeeping standby force as the country seeks to bolster its image as a force of global stability.

Chinese President Xi Jinping said his country would also contribute $1 billion over ten years to UN peacekeeping operations and provide $100 million in military assistance an African Union standby force.

China currently has about 3,000 UN peacekeepers, making it the ninth largest contributor of troops. The largest contingent of Chinese forces is in South Sudan, where the country has oil interests.

China's rising role in UN peacekeeping operations comes amid concern over its increased global role and military might as it asserts territorial claims over the South China Sea. However, Xi sought to allay concerns China seeks a hegemonic role in the world, telling the UN General Assembly earlier that "China will never pursue hegemony, expansion, or sphere of influence."

cw/msh (AP, Reuters)