Beijing, China, 09/15/2021 / Beijing News Bureau /
At the military facility in Queshan county, central Henan province, troops from Pakistan, Thailand, and Mongolia took part in the 10-day drill titled “Shared Destiny 2021”.
China’s defense expenditure is the world’s second-largest behind the United States, and tensions between rival nations have risen substantially as Beijing has invested billions of yuan into military modernization.
However, the nation has frequently attempted to alleviate concerns about its military ambitions, portraying itself as a friendly alternative to what it terms Washington’s “bullying, hegemonic behavior.”
As Beijing tried to put its defense diplomacy on full display, senior Colonel Lu Jianxin told the media invited to the base that the drill “demonstrates China’s commitment for the global system centered on the UN.”
Soldiers in blue helmets took turns acting out various situations, such as bystanders and refugees caught up in a riot or armed militants attacking UN forces.
United Nations-branded armored vehicles, bulldozers, helicopters, tank destroyers, and other heavy equipment were deployed during the event’s opening and closing ceremonies.
United Nations statistics show that at the end of July, China was the eighth largest contributor of peacekeeping forces, with 2,158 troops deployed throughout the world.
Chinese soldiers are mostly stationed in South Sudan, Mali, Lebanon, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Vice President Kamala Harris characterized China’s disputes with its neighbors over the South China Sea as weakening “the rules-based order and threatening the sovereignty of nations” during a recent trip to Asia.
China, as the world’s second-largest financial benefactor, paid 15% of the overall costs for UN peacekeeping missions in 2020.
Since 1990, China has deployed 50,000 troops to 25 peacekeeping operations across the world, built or repaired 17,000 kilometers of road and more than 300 bridges, and cleared 18,000 mines, according to expert Lu.