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Li Keqiang

China pledges more aid to tackle global refugee and migrant crisis

Initiatives announced by Premier Li Keqiang at the UN in New York

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 20 September, 2016, 10:58am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 20 September, 2016, 11:21pm

China has pledged to provide US$100 million more in humanitarian aid and suggested using part of a US$1 billion joint fund with the UN to address the global refugee and migrant crisis, Premier Li Keqiang said at the United Nations General Assembly.

“China attaches great importance to and has taken an active part in addressing this issue,” Li said during a UN summit in New York on Monday on refugees and migrants.

“We are committed to shouldering our responsibilities compatible with our abilities,” he added.

Chinese President Xi Jinping pledges 8,000 UN peacekeeping troops, US$1 billion to peace fund

President Xi Jinping said at the UN General Assembly last year that China would establish a 10-year, US$1 billion peace and development fund along with the United Nations to support its work. He also pledged to set up a permanent peacekeeping force of 8,000 troops.

Li suggested on Monday that some of the funds would bet set aside to help tackle the refugee crisis, but did not elaborate.

China, the world’s second-largest economy, is taking an increasingly active role in world affairs, but it has often been criticised by the US and other developed countries for not shouldering enough responsibility to help deal with global issues and crises.

Li told a later discussion on sustainable development that the ratification of the Paris Agreement on climate change with the US earlier this month during the G20 summit has proven China’s active participation on the world agenda.

China would continue to strengthen its cooperation with international organisations, he said.

China’s Premier Li Keqiang set for summit on refugees and migrants at UN General Assembly

The refugee summit is part of the United Nations’ annual, week-long General Assembly for world leaders and diplomats from its 193 member states. This year is the first time Li has attended the event as premier.

A fragile ceasefire deal reached between the US and Russia over the conflict in Syria, which has triggered the biggest refugee crisis since the second world war, tops the agenda of the UN high-level meetings this year.

The UN’s response to rising tensions over North Korea’s nuclear weapons programme will also be another focus of attention during the assembly.