Professional exchange between the Vietnamese and French defence ministries in June 2018 (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) –
Vietnam has registered some 268 strong standby army engineers to join the United Nations (UN)’s peacekeeping mission in South Sudan after the Defence Minister agreed in principle to dispatch an engineer troop in replacement of the UK’s in 2020.

Examining Vietnam’s registration to the Peacekeeping Capability Readiness System (PCRS), the UN has required that Vietnam better its major equipment and self-sustainment services. It will send a team to Vietnam for further inspection by mid-2019.

At a meeting in Hanoi on February 18, Colonel Hoang Kim Phung, Director of the Vietnam Peacekeeping Department, said that the department has joined hands with competent agencies to organise training courses as well as English and French language courses for the engineers.

Negotiation is underway with the UN and the UK for engineer replacement in February 2020 when the UK peacekeepers complete their mission and withdraw from the war-torn area.

There are currently five candidates for the position with Bangladesh, Cambodia, and Vietnam all granted level 1 readiness in the PSRS, which means they are all able to provide the list of major and self-sustainment equipment as well as the certification of completion of basic training and human rights screening. Meanwhile, China and Croatia have not registered to the system yet.

Phung said that the UN has voiced support for Vietnam if the Southeast Asian country can fit its capacity, human resources, and equipment requirements.

According to Deputy Minister of Defence Sen. Lieut. Gen. Nguyen Chi Vinh, the Vietnam Peacekeeping Department and relevant departments should coordinate in the purchase of equipment, ensuring that it meets the UN’s quality standards.

In addition, meticulous preparation must be made prior to the UN’s evaluation in a couple of months, he said, adding that the Engineer Corps High Command is responsible for accommodation and training, while the peacekeeping department and the Department of Foreign Relations are in charge of conducting surveys in the African country.

Also, he is asking the Republic of Korea, France, and the UK to provide professional training for Vietnamese troops.

Joining the UN’s peacekeeping force for the 2014-2020 period, Vietnam has so far sent 29 officers and one level-2 field hospital to the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilisation Mission in the Central African Republic and the UN Mission in South Sudan. –VNA