Juba, December 22, 2014 (SSNA) — The People’s Republic of China has on Monday said it is ready to deploy its first infantry battalion to South Sudan as part of the United Nations (UN) peacekeeping mission, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.
Chinese military Commander Wang Zhen said 700-strong infantry battalion will participate in the mission, with first batch of 180 already scheduled to land in the violence-hit South Sudan next January. Commander Zhen added that rest of soldiers, totaling 520, will arrive in Mach.
The timing of announcement comes more than a year after fighting erupted in Juba late last year.
China first indicated in September that it will participate in the UN combined forces authorized by the UN Security Council.
The entire 700 soldiers are expected to be deployed from Laiyang, a city in Shandong Province, China.
Chinese government stated that its force is strictly for protection of civilians.
Tens of thousands of vulnerable South Sudanese are currently living in the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) camps in and around Juba.