This week, China announced that it was sending 700 military personnel to join the UN's peacekeeping mission in South Sudan, an oil-rich east African state and site of an ongoing civil war. China has contributed to UN peacekeeping missions before, but the unprecedented size of its contribution, and its purpose in sending troops, reveals just how complicated China's foreign outreach has become as the country continues its rise to super-power status.
As the Wall Street Journal reported, China is deploying troops in order "to help guard the country's embattled oil fields and protect Chinese workers and installations," according to a spokesman for South Sudan's president. China is largely acting to protect its own interests here, rather than regional or international peace.
South Sudan took most of the former Republic of Sudan's oil with it when it was allowed to secede from Khartoum in 2011, bringing a final resolution to decades of civil war and creating the newest country on earth. In 2011, when Sudan was still a single country, it accounted for 5% of China's oil imports.