Viet Nam’s peacekeeping force: More places to reach, more ground to cover

27/11/2021| 9:31

“Viet Nam's national flag is flying at peacekeeping missions in South Sudan, Central African Republic and will soon be present at many United Nations (UN) missions in other countries”, State President Nguyen Xuan Phuc emphasized in his speech at the General Debate of the 76th session of the UN General Assembly in last September.

This statement demonstrates Viet Nam's political commitment to more active and effective participation in the UN peacekeeping operations.

Viet Nam’s peacekeeping force: More places to reach, more ground to coverPresident Nguyen Xuan Phuc and delegates in a joint photo with officers of the Vietnam Department of Peacekeeping Operations on October 18, 2021. (Photo: VNA)

Active participation, effective contribution

The UN has been implementing peacekeeping operations for more than 70 years (starting in 1948) with the participation of 125 among 193 UN member states. Viet Nam and two other Southeast Asian countries did not join UN peacekeeping operations until June 2014.

To promote international integration and defense diplomacy in the UN peacekeeping operations in compliance with the Politburo's Resolution 22-NQ/TW dated April 10, 2013, the Central Military Commission and the Ministry of National Defense sent forces to "participate in the United Nations peacekeeping operations (UNPKO) in the 2014-2020 period and the coming years”.

Viet Nam's participation in UN peacekeeping activities is in line with the world’s development trend in the context of the fact that Viet Nam is a peaceful and independent country which was not included in the poor countries list. Viet Nam has also contributed effectively when joining hands with other countries to deal with non-traditional security challenges.

Over the past 7 years, Viet Nam has successfully deployed both officers and soldiers to participate in UN peacekeeping activities. As a result, Viet Nam has affirmed its responsibility, enhanced its position and prestige in the international arena.

Up to now, Viet Nam has sent 246 Army officers and employees to carry out UN peacekeeping activities at UN headquarters and at UN missions in South Sudan and the Central African Republic.

Regarding the independent officers, Viet Nam has sent 57 times of officers to serve as advisory staff, military observers and liaison officers. In terms of units, after Viet Nam signed the first agreement with the UN to send the level-2 field hospital to South Sudan in September 2018, 189 doctors and medical workers have been dispatched to work at level-2 field hospitals in the African country.

In particular, Viet Nam sent 33 female soldiers to the field hospitals and 5 female officers, reaching a rate of women of 15.5%, higher than the current average rate of UN peacekeeping forces in missions (6.4%).

100% of Viet Nam People's Army officers and employees participating in UN peacekeeping activities have completed their tasks. 31% of officers and employees completed the task at good level as assessed by their mission commanders (the average rate is 2%).

During its tenure at the mission, the level-2 field hospital No. 2 provided emergency care, treatment for nearly 2,000 patients who are UN staff and local people, performed 28 surgeries and transported 11 emergency cases by air to higher levels, many of which were severe and complicated.

In June 2018, the UN recognized the Viet Nam Department of Peacekeeping Operations as one of four international Training Centers in the region to conduct training under the Tripartite Partnership Program (Viet Nam, the UN and a partner country) which served as a premise for Viet Nam to chair and coordinate with the UN and Japan to organize 3 training courses for many domestic and international officers on military engineering in 3 consecutive years - 2018, 2019 and 2020.

Viet Nam was also unanimously elected as the President of the Association of Peacekeeping Centers in the Asia-Pacific for the 2020-2021 term by the countries in the region. The ASEAN Peacekeeping Centers Network (APCN) also selected Viet Nam as the chair of APCN.

Viet Nam’s peacekeeping force: More places to reach, more ground to cover Major Do Thi Hang Nga, Viet Nam's the first female staff officer sent to join the UN peacekeeping mission. (Photo: UNDP)Shining the qualities of “Uncle Ho's soldiers”

In 2015, former UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon visited Viet Nam on the occasion of the first anniversary of Viet Nam's participation in UN peacekeeping activities.

"I bow my head to the Vietnamese officers who came a long way to South Sudan and the Central African Republic to help those in need”, Mr. Ban Ki-moon said. He highly appreciated the achievements of Vietnamese officers in UN peacekeeping activities.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres on the sidelines of the ASEAN Summit in Thailand, October 2019, also told then-Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc: “There is no soldier in the world as good as Viet Nam’s one in UN peacekeeping operations”.

The UN Secretary General, UN Deputy Secretary-General in charge of peacekeeping operations and the UN Secretary-General's Military Advisor at UN Headquarters sent letters of appreciation to Viet Nam’s government for the medical contribution and the quality and capacity of Vietnam's Level 2 Field Hospital in the South Sudan Mission.

Viet Nam's active participation in the UN peacekeeping activities also made an important contribution to Viet Nam’s success when being elected as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council for the 2020-2021 term with a record number of votes (192/193 votes).

Right after President Nguyen Xuan Phuc's recent visit to the UN, the UN sent a note inviting Viet Nam to send an Engineer Team to participate in the United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA).

Up to now, the Central Military Commission and the Ministry of National Defense have directed Viet Nam’s Department of Peacekeeping Operations and relevant agencies and units to actively prepare for deployment of the Engineer Team at the request of the UN.

It can be affirmed that, through peacekeeping activities, Vietnamese 'green beret' soldiers have the opportunity to demonstrate Viet Nam's responsibility to the international community, spreading our traditional cultural values of “loyalty, sincerity", promoting the image of "Uncle Ho's soldiers" in the new era towards international friends.