The request was made by Senior Lieutenant General Nguyen Chi Vinh, Deputy Defense Minister, head of the Vietnam inter-sectoral working group for Vietnam’s participation in UN peacekeeping operations, and Head of Defense Ministry’s Steering Committee on Vietnam’s participation in UN peacekeeping operations, at a meeting on February 18 in Hanoi.

He also asked the Vietnam Department of Peacekeeping Operations (VNDPKO) and relevant units to officially debut the engineer contingent and kick-start training courses for the force in June 2019.

Senior Lieutenant General Nguyen Chi Vinh chairs the working session.

According to Senior Colonel Hoang Kim Phung, VNDPKO Director, Vietnam has completed its registration to the Peacekeeping Capability Readiness System (PCRS). Accordingly, the country has registered 268 stand-by officers from the Engineer Corps, the VNDPKO, Commando Corps, Signal Corps, Department of Military Medicine, and Armored Corps to join the UNMISS.

Phung said that Under-Secretary General for the United Nations Department of Field Support supported Vietnam’s proposal to deploy its military engineers to the UNMISS in replacement of the UK’s in 2020 and asked the country to train its engineers competent to fulfill engineer tasks in the future.

At present, Vietnam is negotiating with the UN and the UK for the replacement in February 2020 when the UK peacekeepers complete their assignment and withdraw from the UNMISS. 

Of the five candidates for the position, Bangladesh, Cambodia, and Vietnam were granted level-one readiness in the PSRS, while China and Croatia have not registered to the system. The UN voiced support for Vietnam if the country meets all UN requirements for professional capacity, human resources, and equipment.

The UN is examining registered Vietnamese engineers’ profiles and has required that Vietnam meet some requirements of equipment. It will send a team of experts to Vietnam to further check the Vietnamese engineers’ capacity by mid-2019.

Regarding training, Senior Colonel Hoang Kim Phung said that the VNDPKO, in association with other units, has organized pre-deployment training courses as well as English and French language courses for the unit in preparation for various United Nations peacekeeping operations.

General Vinh asked relevant units to pay attention to the purchase of equipment to ensure that they meet the requirements of the UN. He tasked the Engineer Corps to be responsible for accommodation and training while the VNDPKO is in charge of inviting lecturers and preparing training contents. The Department of Foreign Relations under the Ministry of National Defense is requested to conduct surveys in South Sudan and cooperate with the Republic of Korea, France, and the UK to provide professional training for Vietnamese troops.

As planned, from February 18 to 22, Australian experts share experiences with Vietnamese peers in developing the plan on the deployment of engineers and ensuring logistics for the force and the level-two field hospital at the UNMISS during meetings to be held by the VNDPKO and the Defense Attaché Office of Australia in Hanoi.

The support from Australia will be very useful, especially when Vietnam is speeding up its preparation for the deployment of its engineer company to the UNMISS. Australia is a country experienced in UN peacekeeping operations and one of the first nations to send their forces to UN peacekeeping missions, since 1947 in Indonesia.

Translated by Tran Hoai