THE EVOLUTION OF CHINAʼS POSITION ON UN PEACEKEEPING

Yu Skorokhod

Abstract


Since the accession of the People’s Republic of China to the UN in 1971, its approach
to UN peacekeeping operations underwent significant alterations at least three times:
after 1981, 1989/1990 and after 2003. This article examines the peculiarities of China’s approach
to UN peacekeeping operations in 1971–1980 as to the tool of interference in the internal
affairs of small states exercised by superpowers.
The article claims that although Beijing’s approach to participation in UN peacekeeping efforts
changed when in 1981 China began to vote on the UN Security Council for extending the
mandates of UN current operations and began to pay contributions to the budget for peacekeeping,
the evolution of China’s stance towards UN peacekeeping activities in fact became apparent
only following the end of the Cold War, when China was able to take part in launching
and implementation of the new peacekeeping operations. Beijing’s vision of the settlement of
conflicts in the Persian Gulf (1990–1991) and Somalia, which had a significant impact on
China’s position on the new trends in the development of UN peacekeeping practices, was also
explored in the article.
The author provides a thorough analysis of the main features of Chinaʼs stance on the development
of theory and practice of UN peacekeeping in 1981–2003 and points out that in contrast
to the previous period of 1971–1980 the countryʼs opposition to it was limited but not
overwhelming, since China had elaborated its attitude towards peacekeeping in terms of its own
national interests but not ideological reasons, in particular because of the need to create favorable
external conditions for implementation of domestic reforms.
The article also pays much attention to the study of changes which Chinaʼs peacekeeping
policy has undergone since 2003 and which were marked by a significant increase in Chinaʼs
participation in UN peacekeeping. The author explains the reasons behind reconsideration by
the Chinese leadership of the role which UN peacekeeping played in Beijingʼs strategy of foreign
policy; the article also defined political and reputational benefits which China derived from
participating in UN peacekeeping operations.
The conclusion is that Beijingʼs position on UN peacekeeping evolved from vivid obstructionism
to active participation because of significant changes in Chinaʼs foreign and security
policy and the development of theory and practice of UN peacekeeping in the post-Cold War period.
The article proves that the core traits of Chinaʼs policy towards UN peacekeeping are flexibility
and pragmatism.
Key words: China, the United Nations, peacekeeping operations, foreign policy.

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No1, P. 239.




DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.17721/apmv.2017.133.0.26-39

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