Chinese Peacekeeping in South Sudan and Mali - A Comparative Study

Student thesis: Master thesis (including HD thesis)

  • Troels Kjær Andersen
China has in recent decades altered their foreign policy position from passive observers to reactive participants with vested interests in international affairs. One area where this is true is international peacekeeping efforts through the institutional settings such as the United Nations. China has become an active participant in numerous peacekeeping missions, particularly in Africa. In addition, they have also provided missions with combat forces to carry out mission mandates. This is evident in both South Sudan and Mali. A fascinating prospect to consider and which has been speculated are China’s motivations and intentions for their more active and leading engagement with peacekeeping and even more so when considering their historical position of non-interference. This thesis aims to examine Chinese peacekeeping efforts in South Sudan and Mali and correlate their activity to their potential interests in both countries. To accomplish this, I have chosen to apply a theoretical framework of realism and constructivism, providing contrasting perspectives to complete a well-rounded analysis. The analysis is offers insights into the contextual backgrounds of the missions, how they came to be and China’s role in both. Moreover, Chinese interests in both countries will be discussed in detail and encompass interests extending in both the economic and political realm. The broad range of Chinese interests stretch across natural resources, One Belt-One Road promotion, military capability advancement, diplomatic training, political prestige and institutional ascension. Comparatively between both peacekeeping missions, China has a wide range of interests, both similar and dissimilar and dependant on the context go about pursuing them either in comparable or incomparable ways. My findings indicate that both economic and political material and non-material interests in South Sudan and Mali are a determining factor for China’s participation in both missions and theoretically both strands of theory are applicable to analyse and interpret China’s actions. Furthermore, both cases portray instances of similarities and discrepancies in their approaches conveying that China in the current political climate has adopted and exercises an increasingly multi-faceted foreign policy agenda and is willing to alter their traditional convictions towards a more modern and pragmatic approach to either pursue or protect their national interests.
LanguageEnglish
Publication date30 May 2019
Number of pages52
ID: 304745162