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People's Daily Online

China sends its first helicopter unit to UN peacekeeping missions

People's Daily Online

(CRI Online) 11:13, August 19, 2017

Chinese armed forces have completed sending their first helicopter unit to the United Nations' peacekeeping missions.

The unit, which includes 140 people and four Mi-171 helicopters, is due to conduct aerial patrol and help transport personnel and cargo in the Darfur region in Sudan.

Chen De-hui, political commissar of the unit, says they are ready for operations in the African nation.

"We are fully prepared, in terms of mentality, physical conditions, military techniques, and our knowledge about international laws and regulations. At the moment, 41 people have arrived in Darfur to set up our camps and test on helicopters. Everything is ready over there. The helicopters are ready to fly," Chen said.

The remaining 99 people of the unit left China on Friday evening.

The Darfur region has been in a state of humanitarian emergency since 2003, due to conflicts between Sudanese government forces and the local indigenous population.

Chinese President Xi Jinping, who is also head of the Chinese military, promised to send a helicopter unit to UN peacekeeping missions in Africa while attending a UN summit in New York in 2015.

China started participating in UN peacekeeping programs in the 1990s.

More than 2,800 Chinese military personnel are currently involved in peacekeeping missions in countries such as South Sudan, Lebanon and Mali.

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