The Netherlands Institute for International Relations ‘Clingendael’ has published a new report, titled “China’s Evolving Role in Peacekeeping and African Security: The Deployment of Chinese Troops for UN Force Protection in Mali”.
This Clingendael Report by Frans Paul van der Putten focuses on China’s dispatch of a force protection unit to Mali with the UN’s peacekeeping force MINUSMA and the insights that can be derived from this deployment with regard to: a) its operational aspects, including possibilities for Sino–European cooperation at the local level; b) China’s stance towards UN peacekeeping operations; and c) the relevance of peacekeeping operations for the protection of Chinese civilians and economic assets in Africa.
Compared with its relatively large economic role throughout Africa, China’s involvement in crisis management in conflict areas remains modest. The deployment of a force protection unit to Mali does not constitute a significant change in this regard. However, this deployment does highlight China’s aim to strengthen its position within the UN and in UN peacekeeping. It also suggests that the build-up of a military presence under UN command, which may eventually open up new possibilities for protecting citizens and economic assets in Africa, could be another long-term aim.
The study on which this report is based was carried out as part of the Sahel programme, which is coordinated by the Conflict Research Unit (CRU) of the Clingendael Institute and financed by the Dutch Postcode Lottery.
You can access the report here.