With purse strings in hand, the Chinese regime has in recent decades been investing in massive infrastructure projects in Southeast Asia, its natural sphere of influence, but with special efforts in Latin America and Africa, not just part of its ambitious plan. Belt and RoadBut to become a strategic partner of developing countries.
A trade war waged as the Trump administration has not toned down its tone Joe BidenAlthough he has refocused the conflict on geopolitics and military power, he views China’s rapprochement with Russia suspiciously and establishes security alliances. Australia, India, Japan and England.
But it’s not just America. The I take itWith Washington as its spearhead, it approved its new strategic concept at the end of June, which included China for the first time. “Challenge”. “China is not our enemy, but we must keep our eyes open to the serious challenges it represents.” Jens Stoltenberg, Secretary General of the Atlantic Alliance, said at the Madrid summit.
And it went further: “Russia and China continue to seek political, economic and military interests in our southern neighbors. Both Moscow and Beijing use economic influence, coercion and hybrid approaches to advance their interests in the region.”He warned.
Of course, the reports contained a response from Beijing: “Has there been any war or conflict in these years that NATO has not been involved in? China has never started a war or invaded other countries.Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian announced.
“The concerns are very economic and technical, but we are not in a war between democracy and dictatorship or capitalism and communism. I think the attempt by US officials to frame this as a fight between good and evil is to strengthen their allies, but many leaders of the developing world, the so-called Global South, no longer use this discourse. They will not buy.”, the political scientist tells El Comercio Cynthia Sanborn, university researcher and professor of political science.
This discourse is constantly reinforced from Washington. As he said Anthony BlinkThe US diplomatic chief blamed China during the NATO summit in Madrid. “Try to undermine the rules-based international order.”
“There are few democracies who buy this argument. But most countries in Asia do not understand what international order is and its characteristics. It will be difficult for the US to convince the Asian countries on this.Also explaining to El Comercio Sovinda Bo is a research associate at the Cambodian Institute for Peace and Cooperation and a PhD candidate at Griffith University, Australia.
Sanborn recalled that the U.S. changed its rhetoric and interpretation of its relationship with China after the Obama administration, but it was much strengthened with Trump. “Biden has maintained that animosity,” he adds. “It is also true that Xi Jinping’s government has tightened the screws further within China and has more centralized positions, but the US has returned to a state of hostility and confrontation, which has more to do with politics. US domestic”.
Conquer the world
While the Allied Powers began to worry about China, the Asian corporation continued to do business, investing millions and expanding its interests across the planet. A kind of ‘soft power’ recharged with lots of cement and yuan.
After the blow to their image caused by the appearance of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Chinese regime opted for ‘health diplomacy’, providing masks and vaccines to developing countries, while investing in its infrastructure projects for decades. , the construction of roads, bridges or hospitals, as well as co-participation in mining and agricultural development, that is, it meets the incessant demand for natural resources to provide for 1,400 million people.
An interesting point is Beijing’s commitment to port concessions in order to secure its supply chain and gain commercial and economic influence in the countries in which they invest. A step BBC report, Chinese companies control about 100 ports in more than 60 countries.
“Chinese companies like ports with ideas dominates the entire supply chain. Economic influence empowers you to gain more political influence and then use that political influence to gain greater economic benefits. It’s a cycle”Evan Ellis, research professor of Latin American studies at the United States Army War College’s Institute for Strategic Studies, commented to the British Network.
Without going too far, an example Chanke Port Mega ProjectOperated by Chinese company COSCO, its investment will reach USD 3 billion by 2024, counting the completion of works.
Although China has taken the accelerator on some jobs in recent years—for example, it gave up buying farmland in Argentina to bet on investing directly in agriculture and livestock companies—they still continue to pay a lot. Companies have presence in strategic areas of Africa, Latin America and Southeast Asia. Of course they have done it before the eyes of America and Europe.
“It appears that the US and the West have not devised an effective strategy to counter China’s influence. If they want to do it effectively, they need to invest more financial resources like China has done. We will have to wait and see if the West is ready to do that. Bo points out.
Investment projects on the African continent helped write hundreds of analyzes of Chinese strategy in a part of the world where they helped implement their projects. It is only necessary to present two statistics: In 2020, the annual flow of direct investment from China in Africa was almost 3 billion dollars, according to a report from Shanghai International Business and Economics University. At the same time his share of investment was high USD 43 billion.
Western leaders stepped up at the G7 meeting in late June A $600 billion pledge For global infrastructure projects in developing countries. Although the amount was considerable, it was not enough if they wanted to win the fight against the Chinese.
Eyes on Latin America
In Latin America, Chinese investment is not equal to what happened in Africa. Countries in the region are not new to Chinese presenceAt the same time we see how America has not made us a priority, which did not help improve the recent US summit.
“During the 1960s and 1970s, there was a large US presence in Latin America, including infrastructure, as part of the war against communism. But since the end of the Cold War in the early 1990s, the US has not had the same level of presence and concern for the region.” Sanborn explains.
“America’s geopolitical priorities are in the Middle East and now in China and Asia. The amount of trade and investment that China is doing with the rest of the world is something that the United States cannot match.
The expert adds that it is important to note that American investments are generally private, while in China there are state-owned companies or state-affiliated companies that have been created in the infrastructure and construction sector. “America. It has withdrawn a lot from this sector, choosing to support the strengthening of democracy or a free press, which are positive things, but Latin America demands ports, bridges, highways or hospitals. Sanborn notes.
Another worrisome issue—he adds—is that there are eight Latin American countries, including Brazil and Chile, to which the United States has not assigned ambassadors. “It’s because of the political deadlock between Congress and the administration, but it’s also a sign that the U.S. doesn’t have the presence it needs to have in Latin America if it wants to compete with China.”
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