Is China Starting to Flex its Military Might?

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China has announced it will deploy 700 troops to South Sudan, as part of the UN’s peacekeeping mission in the fledgling nation.  This is the first time Chinese infantry troops have participated in a UN mission; previously the country has contributed engineers, transportation and medical workers. RT reports:

The battalion will be equipped with drones, armored infantry carriers, antitank missiles, mortars, light self-defense weapons, bulletproof uniforms and helmets, among other weapons “completely for self-defense purpose,” commander Wang Zhen said, Xinhua reported.

The deployment comes as CNPC has signed an agreement with oil-rich South Sudan to “stabilize and increase crude output” in the three blocks in the northeastern African country, officials said Monday, the Wall Street Journal reported.

“CNPC will … work with the operators of three blocks to increase crude production in South Sudan, and provide relevant training to the technicians from the Ministry of Petroleum and Mining,” the company said in a statement.

Oil production has fallen by one-third since a civil war broke out in the country last December, after President Salva Kiir accused the then-Prime Minister Riek Machar of plotting to overthrow him.

Oil for peace? China to send 700 peacekeepers to S. Sudan, signs energy deal

South Sudan is the world’s youngest state, having gained its independence from Sudan in 2011. China has invested heavily in South Sudan’s oil fields, and the civil war that has ravaged the country for the past twelve months is largely viewed as a proxy war being waged on China by the US. Wikileaks documents have shown that both sides of the conflict are on the CIA’s pay roll, and America is easily circumventing the UN’s arms embargo by going through neighbouring Ethiopia.

The US’s only objective in South Sudan is to deprive China of Africa’s natural resources, therefore China’s decision to now send its own forces to guard the oil fields is an interesting turn of events. China’s long-term foreign policy is one of non-interference in other countries affairs, however it looks like the emerging superpower – having now overtaken the US as the world’s largest economy – is finally going to start defending its interests abroad. It is highly unlikely that China will be involving itself in various conflicts, but this new move shows that it is not going to allow America to continue sabotaging its investments.

This new assertiveness has also been made evident through the recent news that China offered military assistance to Iraq, at the UN general assembly in September. As the world’s largest net importer of crude oil and with several state-owned energy companies working in the war-torn country, China has a particular interest in Iraq’s stability. This is also true of Syria, as China has already pledged to invest heavily in post-war reconstruction efforts.

Therefore, while Xi’s government is likely to maintain its peaceful foreign policy strategy, China – like everyone else – can see the havoc being waged all over the world by the US in order to maintain its global hegemony. However with the imperial dollar in decline, coercive diplomacy is no longer viable, and a multipolar world is now all but inevitable.

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