NEW YORK, Sept. 29 (UPI) -- Rival powers China and Japan made separate pledges to add peacekeeping forces for U.N. missions, with Chinese President Xi Jinping pledging 8,000 troops for humanitarian purposes.
"China will join the new U.N. peacekeeping capability readiness system and has thus decided to lead in setting up a permanent peacekeeping police squad and build a peacekeeping standby force of 8,000 troops," Xi said Monday. The Financial Times reported Xi's statement is part of Beijing's larger aim of projecting itself as an emerging but responsible global player.
China has 2,637 peacekeeping troops around the world. Chinese soldiers from various units of the People's Liberation Army have been deployed in conflict regions, including South Sudan, Mali, Darfur and the Democratic Republic of Congo, according to Beijing's Defense Ministry.
Chin-Hao Huang, professor of political science at Yale-NUS University in Singapore, said China has the largest army in the world, and Beijing's pledge could go a long way toward solving the problem of personnel shortages in peacekeeping missions.
"What China is capable of contributing is manpower," Huang said.
In a separate statement at the U.N. on Monday, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Tokyo is committed to expanding its contribution to U.N. peacekeeping operations and said it plans to provide relief to victims of sexual exploitation and abuse, Kyodo News reported.
U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon recently fired a mission chief in Central Africa after a series of sexual abuse cases involving U.N. peacekeepers were reported.
"It is totally unacceptable that women and children are hurt by U.N. peacekeepers who are supposed to maintain peace," Abe said.