Published online by Cambridge University Press: 04 March 2019
China's increasing participation in United Nations peacekeeping operations reached a milestone in 2013 when Beijing agreed to send a large detachment of personnel, including combat forces for the first time, to support UN peacekeeping operations in Mali after that country fell into civil war. This commitment was also distinct in that unlike other African countries where Beijing has supplied peacekeepers, Mali is not a major trading partner with China. However, this mission has both cemented Beijing's greater commitment to building African partnerships as well as demonstrating its determination to move beyond “resource diplomacy” and towards a more comprehensive approach to engaging the continent. Although China has warmed to the principles of humanitarian intervention in civil conflicts, Mali has been a critical test of China's ability to participate in UN operations in a country which is still facing ongoing violence. The Mali mission is an important step in Beijing's turn towards greater realpolitik in Chinese Beijing's peacekeeping policies in keeping with its great power status. At the same time, participation in the Mali mission has been beneficial for China, not only in helping to build the country's peacekeeping credentials in Africa but also in underscoring China's increasingly distinct views on addressing intervention in civil conflicts.
2013 年是中国加大在联合国维和行动里程碑式的一年。在马里陷入内战后，北京同意向其派遣大批人员以支持联合国维和行动，包括第一次派出安全部队。中国在其他一些非洲国家也有维和人员，但因马里并非中国在非洲大陆主要的贸易伙伴，因此在此的维和投入显得非常引人注目。这次行动巩固了北京加深建立与非洲伙伴关系的目标，也展示了中国政府不仅限于追求 “资源外交” 的决心还有更全面参与非洲事务的方法。尽管中国向来对参与在内部冲突情况下的人道主义干预怀有兴趣，马里依然是检验其是否有能力在一个正面临着持续暴力冲突的国家参与联合国维和行动的重要试金石。马里行动既是北京维和政策向 “现实政治” 转变过程中的重要一步，也和中国目前的大国地位相关联。同时，参与此次行动对中国有所裨益，不但利于建立中国在非洲的维和信誉，也有助于凸显中国在其他国家内战情况下如何进行干预的日渐鲜明的观点。