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China’s Geostrategic Designs on Latin America

February 2, 2012 Comments off

americasquarterly.org

In the last 5 years China’s military activities in Latin America and the Caribbean have grown at an unprecedented rate.   Beijing now regularly hosts officers from Colombia, Chile, Mexico, Peru and Uruguay  in its military academies, has expanded arms sales and technology transfers to countries like Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil and Venezuela, and in October last year even sent  a navy ship to the Caribbean.

Is China—now Brazil and Chile’s number-one trade partner—buttressing its economic interests in the Western Hemisphere with military ties and alliances?  Is this the Middle Kingdom’s equivalent of President Barack Obama’s Pacific pivot to balance China’s saber rattling in Asia?

There’s no doubt that China’s torrid economic growth rate and its arrival as an emerging—if not already emerged—global economic superpower has shifted the international system and brought a more muscular Chinese foreign policy.  That policy—part of what the Chinese labeled its “Going Out” strategy—has come with a growing Chinese diplomatic, economic and even military presence in many of its closest trade partners.  Given China’s need for raw materials to feed its manufacturing growth and urbanization—gobbling up everything from iron, to oil, to soybeans and frozen chicken—the country’s rise has been felt most obviously (at times with alarm) in Read more…