Conflict and Fragility


MINUSMA: The role of China

20 Oct 2014 - 15:30
Source: Flickr/ UN Mission in Mali

China’s involvement in Africa is developing rapidly. Since the late 1990s, China has created extensive economic ties with most African countries. It is also active in various peace operations of the United Nations throughout the continent. However, at the same time the Chinese role in UN peace operations and in African security issues in general is still a new and evolving phenomenon. China is steadily deepening its participation in peace operations, and gradually defining the role it wants to play in matters relating to peace and stability in Africa. The Chinese contribution to MINUSMA, the current UN stabilization operation in Mali, provides an important learning opportunity for China as well as its local, regional and international partners. One of the notable characteristics of MINUSMA is that for the first time the Chinese military sends armed troops abroad to provide protection for UN peacekeepers from other countries.

The aim of this project is to gain an insight into how China’s experience with MINUSMA is influencing  its role in peace operations and in African security issues. Questions to be addressed include: Which elements of China’s participation in MINUSMA are different with regard to its earlier contributions to UN peace operations? What lessons are the Chinese government and  armed forces learning from their involvement in MINUSMA? What are possible next stages in China’s evolving role in peace operations and African security, including in the field of anti-terrorism? How does this relate to potential opportunities for cooperation with African and European actors? Does the Chinese role in MINUSMA provide new insights into the country’s position with regard to norms for international engagement in crisis situations in African countries?


This area of research features the following publications and events


China’s Evolving Role in Peacekeeping and African Security (14 September 2015)

Policy Brief
Upgrading peacekeeping to counter transnational conflict drivers (25 September 2014)

Dutch troops to peacekeeping mission in Mali will face complex situation in Mali (25 November 2013)     


Expert Seminar
On Thursday 30 April the Netherlands Institute of International Relations – Clingendael and the International Centre for Counter - Terrorism (ICCT) hosted an Expert Seminar on “China's Role in Peacekeeping and Counter Terrorism and Counter Violent Extremism in Mali”.

Speech - China’s role in peacekeeping
On 25 November 2014, Senior Research Fellow Frans-Paul van der Putten of Clingendael gave a keynote speech at a seminar on China’s role in international peacebuilding and conflict mitigation.