Chinese peacekeeping soldiers wait for the glorious moment at the medal-receiving ceremony on Oct. 3, 2017. (Xinhua/Li Zan)
Chinese peacekeepers, serving the United Nations in the South Sudanese capital of Juba, have been honored for their exemplary service in the war-torn nation.
The third Chinese Peacekeeping Battalion with the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), received their medals in a ceremony on Monday. It was double joy for the Chinese peacekeepers who on Sunday celebrated China's National Day.
Braving the scorching sun, the soldiers stood proudly in their immaculately polished boots, white gloves and the classic blue berets with the UN insignia in a parade as the UN Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Moustapha Soumare, pinned the medals on them.
Soumare, according to UNMISS, said the UN mission recognized the "dedication, commitment and professionalism" of the troops.
He noted that 13 members of the contingent were women, highlighting the impact of female officers in peacekeeping.
"The role and contribution of female officers is especially crucial in a place like South Sudan by making uniformed personnel more accessible to the most vulnerable civilians," said Soumare during the ceremony which brought together personnel from different military contingents, UN Police, civilians and dignitaries.
Soumare encouraged troop-contributing countries to further strengthen the participation of women in uniform.
Since the deployment of the battalion in December 2016, the Chinese contingent has carried out missions including patrolling at the Protection of Civilians (POC) site near the UN base, in Juba and along dangerous and damaged roads to reach vulnerable people in the remotest areas.
Commanding Officer Ding Hailong expressed gratitude to the UNMISS for their continued support in helping the Chinese Battalion, also known as CHNBATT, fulfill their mandate. He commended the UN mission for its consolidated efforts towards building durable peace in South Sudan.
Chinese Ambassador to South Sudan He Xiangdong said he was hopeful that the assistance to the people of South Sudan by CHNBATT will contribute towards a positive image of both UN peacekeepers and the Chinese army.
For almost 30 years, China has contributed more than 30,000 UN peacekeepers to 24 different missions.
During the ceremony, a minute's silence was observed in honor of peacekeepers who lost their lives in South Sudan as well as in other peacekeeping missions around the world.