UNITED NATIONS: Chinese President Xi Jinping promised support Monday for a permanent UN police squad and African peacekeeping as he vowed a peaceful rise for the Asian power.
Paying his first-ever visit to the United Nations, Xi took a new step to address criticism that China has not taken responsiblity commensurate with its growing size.
Xi said that China, which has recently shed its reluctance to join UN defense efforts, would “take the lead” in setting up an 8,000-troop “permanent peacekeeping police squad” that could be deployed at short notice.
Xi also announced $100 million in funding to the African Union to support a similar rapid reaction force, as well as a broader 10-year, $1 billion UN-China “peace and development fund.”
China’s economy has soared in the past 15 years to become the world’s second largest, and the world’s most populous nation has sought to be treated as a major global power.
But China’s neighbors and the United States have voiced concern over Beijing’s territorial claims, while Western nations have charged that Beijing’s interest in poor nations is purely mercantile rather than focused on development.
Xi hit back in his speech, saying China “will continue to participate in building world peace.”
“We are committed to peaceful development. No matter how the international landscape may evolve and how strong China may become, China will never pursue hegemony (or) expansion of a sphere of influence,” he said.
Xi on Saturday promised $2 billion in development assistance for poor nations and a day earlier, on a state visit to Washington, promised more aggressive efforts to battle climate change.