His visit coincides with the arrival in South Sudan of the first of 700 infantry China will send to participate in UN peacekeeping there. Over the past two years, Beijing has increased its contribution of troops and money to UN peacekeeping, and begun sending combat troops for the first time. Some see this as evidence of growing willingness to deploy peacekeepers strategically to protect China's economic interests.
- Peacekeeping will give the PLA valuable overseas experience and exposure to foreign militaries.
- Participation through the UN framework reinforces norms of multilateralism and national sovereignty.
- China's financial contribution to UN peacekeeping, though growing slowly, will not rival Washington's (or even Tokyo's) anytime soon.
- Chinese demand for peacekeeping equipment, bilateral exchanges and language training will increase.