Thursday, July 31, 2008
Friday, July 25, 2008
Upon the approval of the General Staff Headquarters of the PLA, the newly revised Outline of Military Training and Evaluation was formally promulgated and issued to the PLA and the Armed Police Force recently. The new outline will come into effect in the PLA and the Armed Police Force from January 1, 2009.
The new outline is made up of two major aspects, namely joint training and trainings by various services and arms, and covers all the specialties of various services and arms. With enhancing joint operation capability of the troops as the focus, the outline lays out such training contents as: training at operational level of various services, combined tactics, element training, and tactical and technical training.
The new outline has also developed the training of military operation other than war (MOOTW), increased the proportion of informationization knowledge and expertise as well as simulated training of hi-tech weapons and equipment such as aircraft, naval vessels and missiles, standardized the methods, procedures and criterions of networked, on-base and confrontational trainings, defined conditions, forms, methods and requirements for training under complicated electromagnetic environment, training at night, and training under complicated weather condition as well as training for psychological bearing capacity, established an capability-centered training standard and appraisal system, explained in detail and raised the standard for basic trainings, expanded the scope of four-tier examination and appraisal system, added hundred-point grade appraisal items, defined management and regulation modes, stipulated duties and functions of training organizations at various levels, and defined the limit of authority to revise the outline.
(July 25, PLA Daily) Editor:Dong Zhaohui
Sunday, July 20, 2008
Judging from articles from PLAdaily and other official sources, the older regiment based tactical force structure might not be the best fit for today's battlefield. The goal of this doctrine reform is to allow greater efficacy in combined arm operations by enabling decision making process down to junior officer level, to make fire support and other elements available directly to the frontline troops that requested them, and to tailor-make a taskforce according to mission requirements. Well, that is what they say in papers anyways.
One took place in Beijing MR (see link) July 11th
One took place in Nanjing on July 15th
And the last took ex place in July 20th that draws some big shots.
盛夏时节，闽南某山地深处，南京军区某集团军所属某团一支集步兵、炮兵、装甲兵、工兵、通信兵等兵种分队于一体的合成步兵营，与“蓝军”展开激烈对抗。 营指挥所里，情报侦察、指挥控制、火力协调、综合保障等作战指挥要素俱全，把各兵种分队攥成一只“铁拳”。18日，南京军区召开深化营战术训练改革现场 会，组织400余名将校军事指挥员观摩该集团军营战术演习，推广他们适应军事训练转变探索组训新路的做法。
解放军报报道，据该集 团军领导介绍，营战术训练是分队战术训练的高级阶段，是合同战术训练的重要基础，是分队战术和合同战术训练相衔接的桥梁，具有承上启下的重要作用。他们以 新大纲试训为契机，组织营战术训练理论集训，围绕信息化条件下合成营作战指挥、战斗火力运用及营作战力量编组协同等11个课题进行专题研究，梳理出营指挥 机构力量不足、指挥控制手段单一、主动侦察意识不强、指挥方法不灵活等营战术训练弱项，提出了相应的改进方案。此次组织营战术演习，就是对前一阶段训法改 革的综合检验。
硝烟弥漫晴空，炮火映红夜幕。笔者在演习现场看到，这场演习昼夜连续进行，将作战指挥、战场侦察、火力运用、兵种 协同、后装保障等课目融为一体，幷构建复杂电磁环境，利用生疏地形和各种气象条件，综合检验合成营各兵种分队作战能力。有关专家指出，此次演习证明，营作 为信息化条件下遂行作战任务的基本模块，具有较强的独立遂行作战任务的能力，是形成体系作战能力的重要支撑，印证了新大纲将营综合演练拓展为“营战术演习 ”的正确性。
笔者在现场会获悉，为扎实稳妥推进营战术训练改革，该集团军编写出步兵、坦克、装步、炮兵、防空兵营等5类营战术训 练指导手册，开展了申请火力、通信组网等67个新增试训课目，规范了技能训练、军官编组作业、指挥要素训练和营战术演习的组训方式。该集团军还展开了营一 级指挥信息系统的研发和改造，初步构建起情报信息融合、战场态势共享、指挥控制联动的指挥平台，使营战斗力建设走上信息化快车道。
BEIJING, July 20 (Xinhua) -- Hu Jintao, chairman of China's Central Military Commission, has ordered the withdrawal of troops and armed police in different batches from quake-hit areas.
The rescue work in Sichuan and other quake-affected areas were almost finished and the main tasks now were reconstruction work.
The first batch of soldiers would leave on July 21, according to the order signed by Hu.
The order highly praised the contribution made by the troops and armed police to the quake-hit areas and people.
Chen Bingde, chief of the General Staff of the Chinese People's Liberation Army called for all remaining forces to continue their work in repairing roads, cleaning remains and epidemic prevention.
The May 12 quake claimed nearly 70,000 lives, injured more than 370,000 people and left more than 18,000 missing.
"Comment moderation" has been turned off in this blog, thus anyone can post feedback and comments without being approved first. However, if I am being overwhelmed by spam again, I will have no choice but to re-enable the moderation option.
Thursday, July 17, 2008
Anyone still interested in the article, you can find it at BBC's website.
Sunday, July 13, 2008
Unit Number: 5112
Commander: Zhang Hongjun,
Political: Commissar Chen Weiming
The 6th is one of the two MP regiments found in Beijing Garrison, the other one being the 13th regiment, 3rd Garrison Division. Their job is geared for internal society duty rather then war fightings. It’s orbat included 13 companies in 4 battalions, one transportation company, one recon company, one anti-terror unit, and other support elements. This manpower heavy unit does not seem to have any heavy equipment, besides a company of ZSL93/WZ523 which only armed with a 12.7mm Heavy Machine Gun. Since ZSL93 was first revived in the 1984 national day parade, so far this type of APC is only found in garrison units such as Hong Kong and Macao garrisons outside of Beijing.
According to Beijing municipality government’s own website, the 6th helped the city government to protect the water supply, an important task for a city of more then 6 million located right next to a desert. As the summer game draws near, this regiment is being trained to serve as a backup to the civilian security agencies, such as PAP’s Snow Wolf “SWAT” Detachment of the PAP 1st Special Force Brigade, during a terrorist attack.
Friday, July 11, 2008
Latest photos of two old Jianghu FFG in Coast Guard colors.In case you are wondering why they look so different from their sisters ships, well, because they have been transferred from PLAN to the Chinese Coast Guard as Ocean Patrol Vehicle in 2007. Additional fuel capabilities were also added during the refit to extend their patrol range (Notice both the main guns and missile were removed)
1002 (old PLAN FFG 509) is currently serving with Hainan 3rd Coast Guard detachment and 1003 (old PLAN FFG510) is currently serving with Guangzhou 2nd Coast Guard detachment
There were suggestions out there to suggest that as more modern surface ships entering service with the PLAN, it will be interesting to see if more older FFG will be transferred to civilian hands. However, looking at the recent activities of MSA21 and MSA31 around East China Sea, it does seems that China is preferred to used more newly purpose build ships to “show-the-flag” and reserve those two old workhorses for less attractive duties. If Coast Guard has the budget, I am sure they will prefer new boats, after all, they did not take any of the old PLAN Hainan class, which is available by the hundred and build a new batch of crafts that has a similar size and range
Thursday, July 10, 2008
BEIJING, July 8 (Xinhua) -- Chinese and Thai special forces will hold a joint anti-terrorism training exercise from July 9 to 31 in northern Thailand's Chiang Mai Province, a spokesman for China's Defense Ministry said in a statement here on Tuesday.
Code named "Strike-2008", the exercise aims to deepen understanding, cement cooperation in non-traditional security areas, and safeguard regional peace and stability, the statement said.
Divided into four stages, the exercise will cover combat techniques, tactics and comprehensive drills.
The two armed forces will send delegations to observe the training and attend the opening and closing ceremonies, according to the statement.
Last July, the two countries held their first joint training in Guangzhou, capital of south China's Guangdong Province, which was the first joint military training China held with other countries.
China's armed forces have stepped up cooperation with their foreign counterparts in recent years and have staged 25 joint drills and two combined training exercises with 21 countries.
179th brigade, 12th Group Army, Nanjing MR, just hosted a delegation of Japanese military officers. Japan is also sending students to PLA's National Defense University to study.
近年来，中日两国防务领域的交流越来越多，内容也变得更加丰富和开放。在军队高层交往方面，去年8月29日，时任中国国防部长曹刚川访问了日本，这是中 国国防部长时隔9年对日本的首次访问；今年2月26日，日本自卫队最高将领、统合幕僚长斋藤隆访华，这都标志着两国防务部门已经很好地恢复了高层交往，为 建立两国在防务领域的互信打下了基础。
在基层部队交流方面，2007年11月28日，解放军海军南海舰队所属的“深圳”号导弹驱逐舰成功访问了东京，并开展了一系列交流活动。2008年6月 24日，日本海上自卫队多用途驱逐舰“涟”号也进行了回访，并在湛江停泊了大约5天时间。互访期间，两国舰艇均向当地民众开放参观，还安排乐队演奏，开放 程度相当高。
Tuesday, July 08, 2008
The chassis of this new SP Howitzer is shared by PLA’s latest ZBD97 IFV found in some of the frontline elite units, and this could be seem as a step in the long delayed attempt to standardized chassis and other equipments to reduce the much talked about logistic nightmares PLA quartermasters are having.
While this new system still sports the same Type96 122mm Howitzer based on the proven D30 design. However, with a greater mobility and an improved fire control system, this new system should be able to deliver much greater firepower than the older Type 89 first displayed during the 1989 parade.
Thursday, July 03, 2008
Looking at some of the recent photos, it makes sense for the 7th PLAN Independent Helicopter Regiment to be used in this role as it is located in Sanya Hainan and has a long history of ferrying Marines in many missions. It is also getting new birds too (note Z-8 number 9507)
Here is the link to the PLA daily article
Volume 8, Issue 14 (July 3, 2008)
The Pentagon-PLA Disconnect: China’s Self Assessments of Its Military Capabilities
By Dennis J. Blasko
Sun Tzu’s admonition “Know the enemy and know yourself” is a fundamental tenet of Chinese military strategy . The books On Military Campaigns and The Science of Military Strategy include it as the first of 10 principles of war . Moreover, Military Strategy reverses the sequence and puts “knowing ourselves” first . Many articles from the official Chinese press illustrate the fact that the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has an active program of self-evaluation and is well aware of its strengths and weaknesses, especially in relation to the United States’ armed forces.
Despite 2,500 years of tradition in “knowing yourself,” every year since 2005 the U.S. Defense Department has warned, “China’s leaders may overestimate the proficiency of their forces by assuming that new systems are fully operational, adeptly operated, adequately supplied and maintained, and well integrated with existing or other new capabilities” . This assertion is listed among “misperceptions [that] could lead to miscalculation or crisis.”
While acknowledging today’s PLA is vastly improved over its larger, less-technologically-advanced self of a decade ago, some PLA officers have expressed frustration over this conclusion (as well as others) in the Pentagon reports . Many foreign perceptions of the PLA do not comport with officers’ personal experience, what is written in official Chinese sources, and what is taught in professional military schools. Since 2006, the official Chinese media has published repeatedly a general assessment of Chinese military capabilities—sometimes called the “two incompatibles” or “two cannot suits”—that identifies surprising limitations for the force.
Smaller and Better, but Still Strapped for Cash
Since 1997 the active-duty PLA has been reduced by 700,000 personnel to about 2.3 million . Unlike other militaries, PLA active-duty rosters include an unknown number of uniformed civilians . Comparable American civilians working for the Pentagon would add over 650,000 personnel to the 1.36 million active U.S. military personnel, making it nearly the same size as the active PLA force . But, as the PLA has become smaller, it has developed greater capabilities which cost more to sustain.
The announced Chinese defense budget has more than quadrupled since 1998 . These increases have resulted in large pay and benefit increases; new uniforms, better food and living quarters; an array of new, mostly Chinese-made equipment, especially computers and communications gear; and increased tempo and realism of training exercises. Nonetheless, attracting and retaining qualified personnel is a problem, new equipment expensive to purchase, operate, and maintain, and China, too, faces increased prices for oil and other commodities. As a result, the PLA sees itself with minimal financial resources and consistently urges efficiency and thrift.
In 2006, the Army paper stated, “China is a large developing country. Money is needed in many aspects. The contradiction between the needs of military modernization construction and the short supply of funds will exist for the long run” (Jiefangjun Bao, August 8, 2006). A year later, the director of the PLA’s Finance Department emphasized the requirement to use “limited financial resources to ensure military modernization … the armed forces must find ways to improve their financial and economic management … ” (Jiefangjun Bao, February 2, 2006).
Missions and General Assessment
The PLA has set the goal of “winning informationized wars by the mid-21st century” with milestones at 2010 and 2020 . The military and security intelligentsia is now debating future requirements under the rubric of the “historic missions for the new stage in the new century.” New missions will “gradually” extend the reach of the PLA and emphasize “non-traditional security” operations such as antiterrorism, disaster relief, economic security, public health and information security, etc.
The PLA also has a multilayered deterrence mission, which includes China’s nuclear posture as well as deterring attacks on the mainland and preventing Taiwan from further movement toward independence. The Chinese armed forces are obsessed with defending China from long-range precision air strikes and repairing civilian infrastructure damaged during such attacks. Concurrently, security forces are preparing for a range of potential terrorist actions, including nuclear, chemical, and biological attacks.
PLA doctrine shares the concept of “peace through strength” prevalent in America during the Cold War. It understands that credible deterrence requires a capable military and the willingness to use it. But, according to The Science of Military Strategy, “Warfighting is generally used only when deterrence fails and there is no alternative,” and preferably, “strategic deterrence is also a means for attaining the political objective” .
Since 2006 official Chinese publications have stated on more than 20 occasions, “The level of our modernization is incompatible with the demands of winning a local war under informatization conditions and our military capability is incompatible with the demands of carrying out the army’s historic missions” . This general assessment has been applied specifically to personnel development, training, logistics, and technology levels. For example, the director of the General Logistics Department wrote the PLA must address the issue of “an insufficient logistics modernization level [to win] informatized local wars and insufficient support capability for the requirement of fulfilling the historical missions” (Jiefangjun Bao, January 12, 2006). On June 19, 2008, PLA Daily reported:
All participants [at a Symposium on Military Management Innovation] held the view that the combat effectiveness of the troops today is nagged by “two cannot suits,” i.e., its modernization level cannot suit the demand of winning the IT-based local wars, and its military capability cannot suit the requirements for fulfilling its historical mission in the new century and the new period (PLA Daily, June 19).
The General Assessment and PLA Doctrine
These judgments, often called “contradictions,” are attributed to Hu Jintao and are clearly at odds with the Pentagon’s warning. They are, however, consistent with the long-term goal “winning informationized wars by the mid-21st century.” While most foreigners focus on new equipment, PLA officers understand their doctrine requires the integration of all forces, old and new, military and civilian, into joint operations that incorporate firepower, mobility, information operations, and special operations. In recent years, training for “integrated joint operations” has increased, but this year PLA headquarters placed primary emphasis on basic training, small unit training, and command and staff training (Jiefangjun Bao, January 21).
“Trump Card” weapons are one of many elements that must be integrated into complex campaigns. PLA war planners operate under the assumption that the PLA will be the weaker side in most scenarios so it will “use inferior weapons to defeat a superior enemy” (Jiefangjun Bao, April 3, 2006). People’s War, with its emphasis on deception, use of stratagem, fighting the enemy close in, political mobilization, and civilian support, is still “a fundamental strategy" .
Sun Tzu also taught, “All warfare is based on deception” . Could these assessments be a strategic deception campaign? With the exception of the English-language “two cannot suits” example, nearly all of the roughly 20 references to this formula have appeared in Chinese . Most are buried within longer articles that first praise the PLA for progress made, but then follow with the bad news. The intent of the message is to encourage the troops to greater action, “If we are complacent with the status quo and ignore reform, the only consequence that can come about as a result is that we will be left even further behind with respect to the great worldwide trend of new military changes by the strong militaries of the world” (Jiefangjun Bao, January 1).
Thus, while the use of this term is part of an internal propaganda campaign, the vast majority of instances are not intended for foreign consumption—though the Chinese could correctly assume that foreigners do read their newspapers (many of which are available on the internet). If the Chinese intend to deceive the Pentagon with these words, the Pentagon has not been swayed.
After all routine major training exercises, unit leaders assess achievements and identify shortfalls. For example, commanders and staff officers were recently described as falling “far short in meeting the demands of joint operations” (PLA Daily, June 27), and a group army commander called for steps “to resolve the problem of training lagging behind operational requirements in practice … ” (Jiefangjun Bao, May 27).
The Sichuan earthquake relief operations have revealed much about PLA joint operational capabilities. Though no weapons are involved, this deployment is being conducted according to PLA joint operations doctrine, providing a real-world test bed for the PLA. Within two weeks of the disaster, some 133,000 active-duty PLA and People’s Armed Police personnel and 45,000 reservists and militia were deployed (PLA Daily, May 30). Most traveled by road or rail, but in the first days of the operation the Air Force conducted what Xinhua called “its largest airlift yet” of some 11,420 troops (Xinhua News Agency, May 14). About 100 military helicopters (nearly one quarter of the Army Aviation inventory) were dispatched from all over the country. Civilian assets augmented these fleets.
While a “heroic” effort, the PLA Daily noted “the PLA’s long-distance rapid insertion capability [is] in a state of relative weakness” (Jiefangjun Bao, May 20). People’s Daily commented, “With this earthquake, we mustered as many helicopters as possible, but overall they were still too few, and their capabilities not yet improved” (Renmin Wang, May 22, 2006). The PLA will gain important experience from these efforts, but, just as important, the deployment offers an opportunity to evaluate its performance.
The view of the PLA as stated publicly by the Pentagon is quite different than the PLA’s internal evaluations published in multiple open sources. While the assessments described above should not result in complacency by the United States and China’s neighbors, the professional PLA leadership probably knows itself much better than some Americans think—just as Sun Tzu urged.
1. Sun Tzu., The Art of War, London: Oxford University Press, 1963, p. 84. Translated by Samuel B. Griffith. Emphasis added by author.
2. Wang Houqing and Zhang Xingye (eds), On Military Campaigns, Beijing: National Defense University Press, May 2000, p.86. Translated by Language Doctors.
3. Peng Guangqian and Yao Youzhi (eds), The Science of Military Strategy, Beijing: Military Science Publishing House, 2005, p. 230. This text actually lists this statement among the 10 “strategic principles for people’s war.”
4. Office of the Secretary of Defense, Annual Report to Congress, The Military Power of the People’s Republic of China 2005, p. 26; Military Power of the People’s Republic of China 2006, p. 25; Military Power of the People’s Republic of China 2007, p. 15; Military Power of the People’s Republic of China 2008, p. 22. Emphasis added by author.
5. Based on author’s conversations with PLA officers in June 2006, November 2006, and April 2008.
6. Chapter IV, The People's Liberation Army, China's National Defense in 2006. Every other year since 1998, China has issued a White Paper on National Defense. All White Papers can be found at http://english.gov.cn/official/2005-08/17/content_24165.htm.
7. Chapter III, National Defense Construction, China's National Defense, July 1998.
8. U.S. personnel figures are available at http://siadapp.dmdc.osd.mil/personnel/MMIDHOME.HTM. These numbers do not include contractors.
9. The growth of China’s announced defense budget can be traced in the series of its White Papers. See also Table 4, in Dennis J. Blasko, Chas W. Freeman, Jr., Stanley A. Horowitz, Evan S. Medeiros, and James C. Mulvenon, “Defense-Related Spending in China: A Preliminary Analysis and Comparison with American Equivalents,” United States - China Policy Foundation, May 2007, p. 19, found at http://www.uscpf.org/v2/pdf/defensereport.pdf. A key conclusion of that study is there is not “enough information to make a reasonable estimate of the total amount of Chinese ‘defense-related spending.’”
10. Chapter II, National Defense Policy, China's National Defense in 2006. Emphasis added by author.
11. The Science of Military Strategy, p. 224. Achieving “the political objective” through deterrence is consistent with Sun Tzu’s teaching, “To subdue the enemy without fighting is the acme of skill.” The Art of War, p. 77.
12. For a few examples, see Qiushi Article by General Political Department on Scientific Development Concept CPP20060802710009 Beijing Qiushi (Internet Version-WWW) in Chinese, August 1, 2006, No 15; JFJB Commentator on Training National Defense Students CPP20071214710011 Beijing Jiefangjun Bao (Internet Version-WWW) in Chinese, December 14, 2007, p 1; and PRC Army Paper Calls for New Situation in National Defense, Army Building CPP20080101701001 Beijing Jiefangjun Bao (Internet Version-WWW) in Chinese January 1, 2008. All translated by OSC. Emphasis added by author.
13. The Science of Military Strategy, p. 117.
14. The Art of War, p. 66.
15. The Chinese term, liangge buxiang shiying, has been translated in many ways. In addition to the renderings stated above, the term has also been translated as “two non-adaptations” or “two unsuitable points.” These variations in translations could cause confusion among those who only read the English.
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Tuesday, July 01, 2008
We shall see.
Guangzhou MAC accelerates cultivation of joint operational commanders
In mid-June, a batch of excellent commanders from the Guangzhou Military Area Command (MAC) graduated from a cross-training course run by the Air Force Command College were assigned to new posts. In recent years, the Guangzhou Military Area Command has accelerated the training of joint operational commanders and a batch of high-quality commanders of a new type have swiftly come into prominence.
In the past three years, the Guangzhou Military Area Command arranged 22 leaders of division-level or above working in the organs and field troops commanders at regiment level or above to swap their positions, and 74 division-and-regiment-level officers to function in acting capacity at each other's posts, and 1,900-odd military and political officers in grassroots units to exchange their posts. At present, members of corps/division leading groups and brigade/regiment commanding officers in Guangzhou Military Area Command, nearly 50% of them have the experiences of holding positions or acting positions in corps headquarters or above, among the department and division leaders in the military area command and group armies, those with experiences of assuming positions in field regiment or above take up a considerable proportion. At the same time, a batch of officers with technological background have taken up commanding posts, indicating that commanders, which have both commanding skill and technological expertise, have come to the fore.
It is learned that the Guangzhou Military Area Command held 100-odd joint military training in the form of cross-specialty drills, army-navy coordination drills and land-air confrontation drills, and actively carried out integrated training of intelligence reconnaissance, command and control and fire strike, and joint training in combat grouping, so as to provide a new platform for commanders to build up their capabilities of working out overall combat plans, estimating combat situations and handling situation in emergencies.
In recent years, 85.4% of troops commanders from the Guangzhou Military Area Command, who participated in the commander's training course, the training course for commanders at division/regiment level, and the course for postgraduates in the National Defense University, have been promoted to higher positions. In addition, the command has placed excellent young officers with higher academic degrees, good joint operation and command capability, and strong pioneering spirit onto important posts to temper them. Meanwhile, excellent officers chosen as grooming targets will be boldly employed at various posts so as to ensure uninterrupted cultivation of officers.
By Li Jianhua and Li Huamin
(June 30, PLA Daily) Editor: Chen Jie
BEIJING, June 30 (Xinhua) -- With a third group of Chinese peacekeepers sent to Sudan to replace their predecessors, China has sent more than 10,000 peacekeepers to participate in 18 UN peace-keeping missions.
At the request of the United Nations and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, China decided to participate in a hybrid force of the United Nations and the African Union.
China promised to send a 315-member engineering unit to Darfur. So far, the first group of 143 engineers has been dispatched to Darfur, where it is at work.
"The remaining members of the engineering units to be sent to Darfur are now ready for departure and will be fully deployed by mid-July," the Monday edition of the PLA (People's Liberation Army) Daily quoted Wei Yanwei, vice director of the Peace-Keeping Affairs Office of the Ministry of National Defense, as saying.
China joined the UN Special Committee on Peace-Keeping Operations in 1988 and sent five military observers to the UN Truce Organization in 1990. In 1992, 400 engineering troops were sent for peacekeeping work in Cambodia. And, to date, more than 10,000 Chinese peacekeepers have taken part in missions in such countries as Congo, Libya, Lebanon and Sudan.
"China, as a permanent member of the UN Security Council, shoulders an important responsibility in missions related to global peace and security, and China's active participation in UN peace-keeping activities reflects its stance to support the world body and its decisions," said Wei.
"Besides fulfilling peace-keeping tasks assigned by the United Nations, Chinese peacekeepers help local people to improve their living standards," Wei added.
The peacekeepers have built or repaired more than 200 bridges and 7,500 kilometers of roads and treated nearly 50,000 patients, official statistics show.
"Chinese peacekeepers not only fulfill their obligations for peacekeeping missions, but also convey Chinese people's friendship and love of peace to the local people in destination countries," he said.