While Americans recognize China’s rapid rise as an economic powerhouse, the implications remain murky. According to a 2014 Gallup poll, most people unfavorably view China as the world’s leading economic power. Indeed, twenty percent of Americans viewed China, not Iran, as America’s top enemy in 2014. When discussing China, Americans think of its 13.39 trillion GDP (2013 est.), expansion into the South China Sea or human rights abuses.
Yet China’s global influence is expanding in surprising ways. China is the largest contributor to UN peacekeeping operations of all the permanent members of the UN Security Council. China’s rise in peacekeeping operations is indicative of China’s rise in global prominence by both expanding its role in foreign affairs and protecting its own economic interests.
China currently contributes 2181 police, military experts and troops to UN Peacekeeping missions –seventeen times more than the U.S. contribution. These peacekeeping forces are scattered around the world located in areas ranging from Mali to Lebanon to Cyprus according to data collected in 2013. It ranks 13th among countries dedicating troops to peacekeeping missions.