China's Involvement in Africa's Security: The Case of China's Participation in the UN Mission to Stabilize Mali

Jean-Pierre Cabestan*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)
25 Downloads (Pure)


China has been much more involved in Africa's economy and trade than in its security. However, over the past decade or so, China has increased its participation in the United Nation's Peacekeeping Operations (UN PKOs), particularly in Africa. It has also taken steps to better protect its overseas nationals and, in 2017, established a naval base in Djibouti. This article focuses on the participation of China's People's Liberation Army in the United Nation's Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) since 2013. It aims to unpack the diplomatic process that led China to take part in this mission and to analyse the form of this participation. Mali was the second time (the first being in South Sudan in 2012) that China opted to deploy combat troops under the UN banner, underscoring a deepening involvement in PKOs and an increasing readiness to face risks. Finally, this article explores the implications of China's participation in the MINUSMA for its foreign and security posture as a whole. Often perceived as a realist rising power, by more actively participating in UN PKOs China is trying to demonstrate that it is a responsible and “integrationist” great power, ready to play the game according to the commonly approved international norms. Is this really the case?

中国一直保持同非洲紧密经贸关系,人们却较少提到该国如何介入安全问题。然而,近十年以来,中国越来越热衷于特别在非洲进行的联合国维持和平行动,同时开始关注保护国民以及于吉布提建立海军基地。本文探讨自 2013 年以来,中国人民解放军参与联合国马里多层面综合稳定特派团 (马里稳定团) 的经验,并回顾当年导致中国介入马里问题的外交过程,以及分析介入的具体方式。马里是中国继于 2012 年出兵南苏丹后,第二次派遣作战部队参与联合国维和任务,凸显该国重视维和工作,并越来越愿意面对风险。本文最后探讨中国参与马里稳定团在其整体外交和安全政策上的影响。中国往往被分析家认为是一个现实的新兴大国,通过参与联合国维和行动,北京力图表明,它负责任而且「愿意融入国际社会」,依照一般认可的规范活动: 且看事实是否如此?
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)713-734
Number of pages22
JournalChina Quarterly
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2018

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Development
  • Political Science and International Relations

User-Defined Keywords

  • China security policy
  • China–Africa relations
  • Chinese foreign policy
  • Peacekeeping
  • People's Liberation Army
  • responsibility to protect (R2P)
  • United Nations
  • 中非关系
  • 非洲安全
  • 中国与联合国
  • 马里
  • 中国人民解放军
  • 联合国维和部队


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