- The Washington Times - Monday, February 17, 2003

So now, it seems, China will commit troops to the United Nations peacekeeping mission in the Congo. While not a grand scale just 175 engineers and 43 medics will be deployed the contribution marks China's biggest overseas operation since the U.N. effort in Cambodia a decade ago.
According to press reports, senior Chinese military officials involved in the deployment believe the country's participation in U.N. peacekeeping missions will boost the mainland's reputation and bring international recognition. That assertion was not lost among the soldiers who will be deployed. "This mission is for the peace of the world and for people who care about peace," said one soldier, adding that "it is a great opportunity for China" and that he is "very honored to be part of this." The Congo may be the better for China's involvement, but we'd much prefer if Beijing would demonstrate its commitment to world peace by taking a more constructive role in cleaning up its own backyard.
We're talking, of course, about North Korea. Indeed, the more provocative and dangerous Pyongyang becomes, the more Beijing seems determined not to play a role. Just this week, for example, China rebuffed a plea by Secretary of State Colin Powell to exert its considerable leverage in the spiraling problem and insisted that a nuclear North is merely a concern of the United States'.
This is to say nothing about China's involvement regarding Iraq. There, Beijing remains opposed to U.S. military action and has acted only to dilute the influence and relevance of the U.N. While we're pleased to see that China is taking steps to become a more responsible member of the international community, maintaining world peace is best obtained by opposing and not dodging those who threaten it.

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