Since Xi Jinping became president in 2012, China has gradually given up a non-interference policy that it had formally adhered to for more than 50 years. Beijing has under Xi established a naval base on the Horn of Africa in Djibouti, passed a law allowing stationing of soldiers abroad and strengthened its influence in the East China and South China Seas. The greater political involvement abroad has accompanied an increase in Chinese investment, from $2.7bn of foreign investments in 2002 to $170bn last year, many in risky countries, according to the Financial Times. China now has 750 peacekeepers in South Sudan and more than 2,000 in Africa as a whole, including in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Liberia – a bigger deployment than any other permanent member of the UN Security Council. That Beijing has been willing to put lives at risk so far afield shows how its economic ambitions have morphed into political involvement.
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