China geopolitical strategy August 2022-

Written by  //  August 28, 2022  //  China, Geopolitics  //  No comments

China geopolitical strategy June 2020-July 2022
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What Is the ‘Quad’ and Should China Fear It?

29 August
China’s dim prospects turn disastrous
Beijing itself is owed $1 trillion  by struggling governments around the world that cannot afford to pay back loans for Belt and Road Initiative projects.
By Diane Francis
(The Hill) … [T]here is the Belt and Road Initiative debacle. Bloomberg reported that 19 emerging economies (such as Sri Lanka, Lebanon, El Salvador and Pakistan) are virtually bust due to huge indebtedness to China as a result of unaffordable, ambitious infrastructure projects. These loans were granted without concern for credit ratings or the ability to repay and accused of being politically motivated “debt traps.” But these have become China’s “debt traps,” and now protests and pushbacks take place in these countries against Beijing. China must forgive loans, restructure them or walk away and let more Sri Lankan-style collapses occur.

19 August
Port politics: How China fits into Sri Lanka’s economic crisis
(Christian Science Monitor) China’s financing and operation of Sri Lanka’s Hambantota port, where a Chinese missile-tracking vessel docked this week despite objections from the United States and India, have been raised as a cautionary example of “debt trap diplomacy” – a strategy in which a country loans money to smaller nations, which may not be able to repay their debts, as a way to boost geopolitical influence. Some even blame China for the island nation’s economic nosedive. Yet experts say Sri Lanka’s debt crisis is more complicated, and China is just one player, albeit an important one.
China denies Belt and Road Initiative ‘debt trap lie’ as infrastructure spending tops US$1 trillion
Beijing says it has signed ‘cooperation documents’ with 149 countries and 32 international organisations, while taking on 3,000 projects
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has accused China of creating a ‘debt trap’ through its Belt and Road Initiative
(SCMP) China has worked with almost 150 countries and spent US$1 trillion as part of Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative to open cross-border trade routes while placing no one in a “debt trap” despite accusations from the United States, according to its foreign ministry.
The government has signed belt and road “cooperation documents” with 149 countries and 32 international organisations as of July 4, while taking on 3,000 projects, Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Wang Wenbin said on Thursday.
The initiative, which is now in its ninth year, offers Chinese support, often through major state-backed enterprises, for roads, airports, seaports and other infrastructure that smooths trade in goods.

17 August
Understanding China’s Economic Presence in the Arctic
Are tangible investments following the hype?
(Inkstick) In January 2018, China published its first-ever Arctic policy, emphasizing the role China sees for itself in Arctic affairs. China has extended its interests in the region beyond the country’s previous focus on scientific research to also engaging in economic activities along with the “Polar Silk Road” (PSR). As a new expansion of China’s grand and crucial foreign policy strategy, the “Belt and Road Initiative” (BRI), the PSR aims to develop “a blue economic passage linking China and Europe via the Arctic Ocean”.

13 August
Cleo Paskal: Right to vote being snatched from Solomon Islanders by PRC-backed PM
Sogavare has introduced a Bill to postpone elections. Reaction on the ground is seething. Likely Sogavare and his backers in Beijing don’t mind violence so they can activate the China security deal.
Beijing has studied the importance of the vast Pacific Islands region—for instance, you need to be able to hold it, or deny it to others, to take Taiwan. It also knows the cost and difficulty of taking it by force, as those on Bloody Ridge remembered.
So, Beijing has worked on its consolidation of the region by using political warfare to “island hop” beyond the first island chain and set up political, economic and, increasingly, force-capable forward operating sites across the region.
Its goals for the region were made explicit in its proposed “China-Pacific Island Countries Common Development Vision” and supported by the “China-Pacific Island Countries Five-Year Action Plan on Common Development (2022-2026)”.
… Countries need to realise this is not business as usual. This is a coup with Chinese characteristics, and if it’s not stopped in the Solomons, it will spread.

11 August
China’s growing reach is transforming a Pacific island chain
(WaPo) As China rapidly extends its reach in the Pacific, its growing influence is unmistakable in the Solomon Islands, a country with which it established diplomatic ties only in 2019. The relationship between the world’s most populous country and this Pacific archipelago of 700,000 people was thrust into the spotlight this year when word leaked that they had struck a secret security agreement. The United States and its allies fear the pact could pave the way for the establishment of a Chinese military base in the strategically valuable island chain.
… The United States and Australia are both increasing their aid and diplomatic engagement with Pacific nations, including the Solomon Islands, where the Biden administration announced in February it would reopen the long-closed U.S. Embassy. Some Solomon Islanders feel the efforts by China’s rivals are too little, too late. But cracks also are showing in China’s promises.

10 August
Is China to Blame for Sri Lanka’s Debt Woes?
China’s role in lending to Sri Lanka has expanded in the last 20 years, but fewer Chinese loans would not have saved the country from its current economic crisis.
(The Diplomat) …in 2007, pre-dating the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), the Sri Lankan government announced the idea to build a port in Hambantota near the Indian Ocean shipping lane that accounts for more than 75 percent of the world’s marine-borne trade. Forecasting a growing middle class in Africa and India and a growing demand for Chinese goods, Sri Lanka wanted to snag a proportion of cargo that would otherwise go through Singapore – the world’s busiest transshipment port. China Harbor Group eventually built the port by 2010; it was funded using a 15-year loan of $307 million with a grace period of four years, and a fixed interest rate of 6.3 percent, from China Eximbank. There are other such examples of lending from China.
[China fails on Pacific pact, but still seeks to boost regional influence 1 June 2022]

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