China is a relative newcomer to peacebuilding, but its recent moves to participate in Afghan peace talks, influence and fund progress in Burma’s peace process, invest in Pakistan, and contribute to United Nations peacekeeping missions illustrate a growing role in conflict zones of strategic interest to the United States. China’s increased engagement presents opportunities for reducing violent conflict, but U.S. and Chinese interests and approaches do not always align. Through research, dialogue, and training, the U. S. Institute of Peace provides evidence-based analysis of China’s activities and impact, identifies areas for collaboration where appropriate, and develops strategies for preventing differences from exacerbating instability or undermining broader peacebuilding efforts. Learn more in USIP’s fact sheet on The Current Situation in China.
As U.S. national security debates focus heavily on the growing power and ambitions of China, two prominent members of Congress discussed how bipartisan policymaking can better protect America’s interests. Representatives Chris Stewart (R-UT) and Dutch Ruppersberger (D-MD) emphasized a need for strong engagement in Washington between the political parties, and for focused U.S. attention on China’s military buildup, intellectual property theft and cyber activities. Both congressmen are members of the House of Representatives subcommittee that oversees the U.S. foreign affairs budget, and both have played leading roles on national security and intelligence issues.
Chinese troops have been stationed in Mali for the last half-decade as part of the UN-mandated stabilization force. Deployed after rebel groups overran large portions northeastern Mali in 2013, it was just the second time Beijing had ever contributed combat troops to a UN peacekeeping mission. This Special Report examines how China is using its peacekeeping activities in Mali as an opportunity to train troops and test equipment in a hostile environment—and as a way of extending its diplomatic reach and soft power in Africa and beyond.
Despite its growing status as a major economic and military power, China continues to be a strong supporter of UN peacekeeping operations. China is not only the second-largest financial contributor to UN peacekeeping (after the United States), it has roughly 2,500 personnel deployed in ongoing missions, including in active combat zones in Mali and South Sudan—far more than any other permanent member of the UN Security Council. This Special Report examines what China hopes to gain from its participation in UN peacekeeping, as well as the challenges it will face as its troops find themselves in more dangerous “peace enforcement” situations.