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.

Featured Publications

China’s Role in North Korea Nuclear and Peace Negotiations

China’s Role in North Korea Nuclear and Peace Negotiations

Monday, May 6, 2019

By: USIP China-North Korea Senior Study Group

This is the second in the Senior Study Group (SSG) series of USIP reports examining China’s influence on conflicts around the world. A group of fifteen experts met from September to December 2018 to assess China’s interests and influence in bringing about a durable settlement of the North Korean nuclear crisis. This report provides recommendations for the United States to assume a more effective role in shaping the future of North Korea in light of China’s role and interests. Unless otherwise sourced, all observations and conclusions are those of SSG members.

Conflict Analysis & Prevention; Mediation, Negotiation & Dialogue

Where Does China’s Belt and Road Initiative Stand Six Years Later?

Where Does China’s Belt and Road Initiative Stand Six Years Later?

Thursday, April 25, 2019

By: Jennifer Staats

Few projects illustrate the risks of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) better than the Hambantota port in Sri Lanka. In 2017, unsustainable debt loads drove Colombo to give China a 99-year lease and controlling equity stake in the Hambantota port, while local communities protested the loss of sovereignty and international observers worried about China’s strategic intentions. The Hambantota case may be an outlier, but it has become a “canary in the coalmine,” and a warning sign to other BRI participants about what their future may hold. Increasingly, countries around the world are taking steps to reassert their influence over BRI projects—and Beijing has taken note.

Economics & Environment; Global Policy

China’s Engagement with Smaller South Asian Countries

China’s Engagement with Smaller South Asian Countries

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

By: Nilanthi Samaranayake

When the government of Sri Lanka struggled to repay loans used to build the Hambantota port, it agreed to lease the port back to China for 99 years. Some commentators have suggested that Sri Lanka, as well as other South Asian nations that have funded major infrastructure projects through China’s Belt and Road Initiative, are victims of “China’s debt-trap diplomacy.” This report finds that the reality is...

Economics & Environment

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Current Projects

USIP's China Senior Study Group Series

USIP's China Senior Study Group Series

Over the last decade, China has become more engaged internationally, including in conflict zones and fragile states of strategic interest to the United States. From civil wars in neighboring countries, such as Afghanistan and Myanmar, to more distant conflicts in Africa, China is becoming an increasingly important player in regional and international efforts to mitigate conflict. In countries where China exerts a strong influence, its engagement can have a substantial impact on local and international efforts to curb violence and extremism.

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