By Willis J. (Willis John) Abbot

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17 China’s decision to get involved in various PKOs since the end of the Cold War contradicts these self-professed principles in several ways. First, the new types of PKOs that have emerged since the 1990s entail a considerable erosion of the host state’s sovereignty. The shift towards promoting liberal democracy and market capitalism as the sole ‘legitimate’ form of statehood has also made inroads into these peacekeeping roles, and many operations now aim to reconstruct war-torn states along these lines.

7 Nevertheless, China’s seemingly new-found enthusiasm poses several puzzles. China’s increasing internalization of global norms and evolving identity as a ‘status quo’ power that upholds these social structures has already been documented (see Hirono and Lanteigne this issue) and one need not be overly sceptical of China’s desire to fulfil this role through PKO participation. Since 1990 PKO mandates have increasingly moved away from the prevention of inter-state war to the reconstruction of states ravaged by civil war.

45 The action plan identified ways that China would provide assistance and enhance cooperation with multilateral partners in the prevention, management and resolution of regional conflicts. China and the AU have also facilitated interaction by establishing the Strategic Dialogue Mechanism as a regularized and institutionalized measure to exchange views on relations and security issues. 46 Such mechanisms have increased regular exchanges, opening the door to greater consultation on areas of convergence and divergence.

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