China and Liberia: Engagement in a Post-Conflict Country (2003–2013)
This chapter examines one of the earliest Chinese efforts at peacekeeping in Africa, that of Liberia, where Beijing found itself unexpectedly playing a major part in peacekeeping and post-conflict reconstruction. China’s involvement ranges from participation in the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) to its social, productive and commercial role in the revival of the country’s fragile socio-economic structures. Both within the framework of UNMIL and at the bilateral level, Beijing has shown itself to be an important stakeholder and development partner in Liberia as in most national post-conflict situations on the African continent.
This multidimensional study focuses on how the need to stabilise a post-conflict country requires going beyond the security pillar and drawing in other pillars such as aid, infrastructure, trade, investment and governance. The chapter begins by exploring the political relations between China and Liberia, then examines the Chinese involvement in UNMIL, analyses various aspects of bilateral relations and concludes by balancing the complex interactions between both actors and making a set of recommendations to address key issues.