In mid-2013, China’s increasingly positive policies towards United Nations peacekeeping reached a milestone when the country agreed to send a large detachment of personnel, including combat forces for the first time, to the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilisation Mission in Mali (known by its French acronym MINUSMA). This commitment was also distinct in that the mission was not in a region which represented direct Chinese economic interests, unlike other African peacekeeping missions in which Beijing has offered support. Rather, the Mali operation has both cemented Beijing’s larger commitment to building African partnerships and has demonstrated a marked contrast to the unilateral approach taken by France in pacifying the country. Although China has warmed to the principles of humanitarian intervention in civil conflicts, it retains a wariness towards peacebuilding operations outside the sponsorship of the UN. Therefore, the Mali operation has been beneficial for China, not only in building its peacekeeping credentials in Africa but also in underscoring China’s increasingly distinct, ‘neo-Westphalian’ views on addressing intervention in domestic conflicts.