Reuters’ Peter Apps talks to China’s most senior U.N. peacekeeper, Major General Chao Liu, commander of the U.N. mission in Cyprus. With 1,800 personnel deployed around the world, China is now the largest contributor of manpower among the five permanent U.N. Security Council members.
When Chao Liu enlisted in the People’s Liberation Army in the dying years of China’s Cultural Revolution, he never imagined he would end up in Cyprus wearing a blue U.N. beret.
[…] “When I was at the military academy, we were told we would never do U.N. peacekeeping,” he told Reuters in his office at a largely abandoned former British aerodrome in the buffer zone.
“But the changes of the 1970s and 1980s opened up new opportunities. Being involved in peacekeeping allows us to learn from the outside world and also to show the outside world who the PLA are.”
[…] “People in uniform are similar but the system is quite different,” Liu says. “What I’ve learned in this mission is that every decision is based on discussion. In China, it is quite different … You just make a decision and you don’t expect to discuss it.”