Spanish – The expansion of the Chinese empire continues unabated. Convinced that it is winning the “trade war” against the United States, the communist regime of Xi Jinping is advancing in the military field. Its goal is global hegemony. It is not only the quest for technological domination with 5G -so far described as a conspiracy theory- but a real war threat from the Chinese army in any corner of the planet in the coming decades.
The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) is rapidly expanding the ability to project world power and wage war far from Chinese territory in the next decade, warns the 2020 annual report of the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, presented to Congress on December 1.
“China’s power projection capabilities are developing at a brisk and consistent pace, reflecting the civilian leadership’s determination to transform the PLA into a global expeditionary force in a matter of decades.”
The Chinese army’s Century
According to the forecast, the report’s authors point out that in the short term, that is, in the next five years, the PLA will focus on consolidating its capabilities, which will allow it to carry out large-scale military operations around its maritime periphery.
In the medium term (next 10 to 15 years), the Chinese military may be able to fight a war abroad, limited to protecting its interests in the countries that are part of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). This is a massive global project by China that covers more than two-thirds of the world’s countries, according to the financial services firm Deloitte,
No place on earth could escape China’s military might in the coming decades. The commission adds in its report that by mid-century, the PLA will have the capacity to deploy forces rapidly in any corner of the world.
Military dominance supported by economic expansion
The document notes that the PLA has made recent advances in missiles, bombers, transport aircraft, offshore refueling, and logistics so that they “significantly improved the People’s Liberation Army’s (PLA) ability to project power and deploy expeditionary forces far from China’s shores.”
China’s military dominance is also supported by its economic expansion. The report warns that China has military facilities operated exclusively by the PLA, as well as civilian ports operated or owned by Chinese companies, which may become dual-use logistics facilities.
Chinese companies own or operate nearly 100 ports around the world. More than half involve state-owned companies of the communist regime in Beijing.
Rapid worldwide development
Although Chinese military power has not been consolidated in the Western Hemisphere, the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission warns that rapid progress is being made using China as a gateway to Latin America.
Chinese power projection capabilities are strong in East and Southeast Asia, where Beijing is building military bases. In the Indian Ocean, the People’s Liberation Army deploys naval task forces that regularly operate for seven or eight months, reaching even the east coast of Africa.
These capacities for expanding Chinese military power diminish with distance. The further away, the lesser the presence. However, the rapid advance indicates that the Chinese will reach every corner of the planet in a couple of decades.
China’s military expansion capabilities have already made their presence felt in the Western Hemisphere. The document indicates that China is already beginning to develop the capacity to project power in the South Atlantic, where it occasionally conducts naval operations and various military exercises with its local partners.
In Latin America and the Caribbean, the PLA’s power projection capacity is still considered “weak.” However, the alarms have been sounded. The report warns that China is rapidly captivating the region with growing political influence and increasing access that will complement the satellite tracking station it already has in Argentina.
Dangerous influence in Venezuela
This report could not exclude Venezuela when it comes to China’s influence in Latin America and the Caribbean. The People’s Liberation Army can create the conditions to protect the transport of Venezuelan oil to Chinese territory or for the establishment of a base from which Chinese forces could distract the United States during a future contingency in the far east, the document stresses.
Another concern raised has to do with the fact that the growing influence serves to facilitate espionage and support China’s space activities.
Regarding the close relations between Beijing and Caracas, this month, the United States sanctioned the China Electronic Import and Export Corporation (CEIEC). The Treasury Department highlights this company for offering Nicolás Maduro the same system used by the Chinese regime to censor and restrict internet access to the population.
In the military arena, last October, Maduro announced the creation of a Scientific and Technological Military Council with the help of China, Russia, Iran, and Cuba. As reported by Infobae, the goal of this plan is to obtain advice on the management and control of the weapons system.
These are the same countries that a couple of weeks earlier, the head of the U.S. Southern Command, Admiral Craig Faller, had described as “the center of gravity” that sustains Nicolás Maduro in power.