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UN reaches out to China to build peacekeeping force
[UNITED NATIONS, UNITED STATES] The United Nations is reaching out to China as it pulls together a standby force of 15,000 troops for quick deployment to conflict zones, the UN peacekeeping chief said Thursday.
Although Herve Ladsous did not name the countries that will take part in the new reserve force, he does plan to travel to China early next month to discuss its offer of 8,000 troops.
"The goal we are pursuing is that, by the end of the year, we would have the capacity of 15,000 people ready for deployment within a very short period," he told reporters.
China made a splash last year when it announced that it was ready to set up an 8,000-strong standby force to bolster UN peacekeeping.
That would put Beijing among the top contributors of UN troops and police.
China's offer was "remarkable," Mr Ladsous said, praising Beijing for contributing peacekeepers to South Sudan and a squadron of transport helicopters to Sudan.
"These are very welcome factors," he said.
The standby force will be fully trained and equipped for peacekeeping missions, which is expected to reduce deployment time by several months.
More than 100,000 soldiers and police serve in the UN's 16 peacekeeping mission worldwide, the bulk of them provided by a small group of countries.
They include Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Ethiopia and Rwanda.