3helps to counter Western military power and negative perceptions about growing Chinesemilitary spending.So far, China has participated in fifteen UN peacekeeping missions in Africa. As of theend of August 2012, China had more than 1,500 troops, experts and police assigned to six of
Africa’s seven UN peacekeeping operations.
This number constitutes more peacekeepers inAfrican missions than any other permanent member of the UN Security Council. The troops arenon-combatants, mostly engineers, logisticians, transport specialists and medical personnel.While China has not yet contributed combat troops to UN peacekeeping operations, it does notappear to have excluded this possibility. Most of them are assigned to Liberia, South Sudan,Darfur and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. On the other hand, China provides onlyabout 4 percent of the UN peacekeeping budget while the United States pays about 27 percent.Canada contributes almost as much as China.China has provided modest financial support for African Union peacekeeping efforts inboth Darfur and Somalia. So far, however, it has eschewed deeper involvement such as thetraining of African Union troops that are participating in these operations.Chinese peacekeepers in Africa have been widely praised. The only sour note has come
from a couple of rebel groups in Sudan’s Darfur
region that have publicly criticized the presenceof Chinese peacekeepers.
Counter Piracy Operations
A security issue related to peacekeeping is the international anti-piracy operation in theGulf of Aden. Chinese flagged vessels and Chinese crews have been subject to successful
Somali pirate attacks. It is in China’s interest to contribute to the internationa
l effort to endSomali piracy.Since 2008, China has rotated on a continuing basis two frigates and a supply ship insupport of this effort. This represents the PLA Navy
’s first operational deployments beyond the
immediate western Pacific region. Although the Chinese ships operate independently of anycoalition task force, their contribution has been professional and welcomed by the otherparticipants, including the US Navy.
Arms Sales to Africa
Unlike support for peacekeeping and counter-piracy efforts in Africa, which garneralmost universal praise, Chinese arms sales to Africa have encountered a decidedly mixedreaction. African governments, especially those such as Sudan and Zimbabwe facing Westernsanctions, are pleased to have access to Chinese weapons, which are often of good quality andlow cost. Certain g
roups opposing established governments such as the Sudan People’s