Would #China defend its interests in #LatinAmerica? Possibility of Chinese Mil. activity increasing - Peter Joseph Moons

posted Feb 27, 2013, 12:28 PM by Peter Joseph Moons   [ updated Feb 27, 2013, 3:41 PM ]
Beijing War Prep - Freebeacon.com.

Comments by Peter Joseph Moons

In his article, Bill Gertz describes how China is preparing to defends its interests, particularly the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands.  

A different question needs to be asked regarding Chinese military power:  Is there a possibility that some time in the near future China will similarly seek to defend its interests in Latin America?

Chinese Personnel In Haiti post-earthquake http://www.warisboring.com/2010/02/11/chinese-u-s-troops-on-joint-haiti-patrols/

First, China's interests in Latin America are commercial -- but important nonetheless for Chinese manufacturers.  For China to engage in a defense of its port access at both ends of the Panama Canal, for example, these ports would have to be threatened by either the host nation, or from an external third nation.  The latter scenario is unlikely.  Moreover, multi-national exercises occur nearly annually using a defense of the Canal as a catalyst for combined naval activities.  So to purely defend commercial interests, China appears unlikely to engage militarily in Latin America, unlike the gunboat diplomacy of the US during the era of its Monroe Doctrine.

Second, alternatively, China is likely to engage in military activity in Latin America when its interests coincide with other nations and/or present a great public outreach opportunity.  Such was the rationale for China's anti-piracy patrol participation off the east coast of Africa in the 2000's: piracy is a global menace affecting legitimate commercial activities, including that of the Middle Kingdom.  Likewise, China's support to the relief effort after the 2010 earthquake in Haiti was astoundingly rapid and there have been Chinese police contributing to the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti for years.  Participation in humanitarian missions is in every nation's interest, when the outcome is positive.

Expect China to continue to flex its military muscle more, especially as its foreign direct investment to, commercial exchange with, and resource extraction from Latin America increases, particularly when such actions can be done on a multilateral level.