China and the Insecurity of Development in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)
International Peacekeeping, 27 Nov 2013
This article analyses China's contemporary engagement in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) as an example of Chinese involvement in a resource-rich, conflict-affected country. Following a large ‘minerals for infrastructure' agreement signed in 2008, China's activities in the DRC are often presented as an example of a departure from Western-led liberal peacebuilding and development, by providing ‘corrupt' Congolese national elites with new sources of unchecked rents; or it is viewed as a positive alternative to Western approaches, by focusing on win-win development and reconstruction. Both these views are flawed. Rather than offering a marked alternative to a Western ‘liberal' peacebuilding project, this article argues that Chinese interests have increasingly coincided with evolving Western interests in support of stabilization and market-driven economic activities. This, however, does not offer a clear pathway to security and development in the DRC. On the contrary, both Chinese and Western involvement in the DRC provide possibilities for continued insecurity, rather than any fundamental break from previous patterns and structures of politics.