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By Bill Gertz
THE WASHINGTON TIMES
March 15, 2006
China is stepping up military training in Latin America because of a law that limits U.S. military support to nations in the region, the general in charge of the U.S. Southern Command told Congress yesterday.
Gen. Bantz J. Craddock, who oversees U.S. military activities in the region, said a lack of engagement on the part of the United States has benefited China.
"If we are not there and we can't provide this opportunity, someone else will," Gen. Craddock told the Senate Armed Services Committee.
WASHINGTON (AP) -- China is training increasing numbers of Latin American military personnel, taking advantage of a three-year old U.S. law that has led to a sharp decline in U.S.-run training programs for the region, an Army general said Tuesday.
Gen. Bantz Craddock, who oversees U.S. military operations in Latin America, said military members of all ranks are receiving training in China. In addition, he said, more and more Chinese non-lethal military equipment is showing up in the region...It's a growing phenomenon."
Craddock testified before a Senate Armed Service Committee hearing where lawmakers from both parties called for the elimination of the law that authorizes U.S. training programs only under certain conditions -- requirements that some countries refuse to accept.
The measure has given the Chinese military an opening in Latin America for the first time.
As fantasies go, this is certainly a powerful one, and it does have some basis in hard reality. But an element of make-believe is never absent either. On a visit to Beijing in December, Venezuela's President Hugo Chávez (above, left) told some tallish tales about the revolutionary spirit linking his nation and his hosts. Unveiling a statue of the (quite conservative) Simón Bolivár, who led Venezuela to independence, Mr Chávez called the anti-colonial hero a soul-mate of Mao Zedong, and noted the “great similarities” between the revolutions they led. To mark this brotherhood, Mr Chávez added, China would invest heavily in Venezuela's oil sector, while bilateral trade would hit $3 billion in 2005, more than double the 2004 figure.
None of this changes the fact that the United States will remain the biggest customer for Venezuelan oil. But the heady atmosphere of the Venezuelan leader's Chinese Christmas was only the latest in a series of spectacular displays of Sino-Latin solidarity. China's President Hu Jintao visited Argentina, Brazil and Chile in November—and promised to lay out tens of billions of dollars on improving the region's infrastructure. He also vowed that China's imports from Latin America—already showing an impressive rise (see chart)—would grow even faster; and he added Argentina and Brazil to China's list of approved tourist destinations. In Peru, meanwhile, tour-guides at Inca sites are brushing up their Chinese in anticipation of a huge influx of visitors. What did Mr Hu get in return? Most obviously, a big diplomatic concession: his three host countries agreed to recognise China as a market economy, a move which makes it harder to bring anti-dumping charges.
All over Latin America, meanwhile, there have been eager predictions of a massive boost to employment and economic growth, thanks to a new benefactor who could supplant, at least in part, the role played by American-dominated financial institutions and America itself.
By Willy Lam
The Jamestown Foundation
A Beijing source close to the Chinese diplomatic establishment said owing to the huge gap between the military might of China and the U.S., the Hu leadership would continue to steer clear of direct confrontation with Washington. However, he said advisers to the Hu leadership were convinced that in terms of the scramble for oil and other resources, competition between major powers such as China, the U.S., Japan and India has already reached fever pitch. "Before the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, Bush had characterized the U.S. and China as strategic competitors," the source added. "While Sino-U.S. rivalry has been sidetracked thanks to their cooperation in fighting terrorism, experts in both Beijing and Washington realize that the two countries are bound to intensify their jockeying for position in the field of securing scarce resources."
On the front of energy and resources, Latin America presents a bonanza for China in the areas of oil and gas, iron ore, agriculture produce such as beef and soya bean, and other items. The "all-weather strategic partnership" that Hu was able to cement with Brazil last week was especially noteworthy. The Brazil state oil firm, Petrobras, expected that China would this year become the third-leading destination of Brazilian crude exports, with shipments of about 50,000 barrels per day. At the same time, the Chinese state oil company Sinopec invested $1 billion in a joint venture with Petrobas for the construction of a gas pipeline linking south to northeast Brazil. Other deals the Chinese have recently signed included iron ore shipments from Companhia Vale do Rio Doce (CVRD), one of the world's largest mining concerns, for Shanghai's famous Baoshan Steel Mill.
China's influence in the entire region has expanded owing to a dizzying array of new investments in not only mines and oilfields, but infrastructure and transport. Cumulative capital outlay has exceeded $4 billion. Last year alone, Chinese state-owned enterprises (SOEs) pumped $1.04 billion into the region, accounting for 36.5% of Latin America's foreign direct investment (FDI). Yet this figure has been dwarfed by what Hu and his delegation of state entrepreneurs pledged last week. The Chinese vowed to plough in $100 billion in the coming ten years. For instance, in Argentina alone, the SOEs are due to invest $19.7 billion in the coming decade in mines, railroads, and other infrastructure projects.
• Until recently, Washington has all but ignored that China is making important inroads in the region—China and a number of western hemispheric countries have deepened their cooperation, especially in the areas of trade and development.
• As the world’s second largest and fastest growing major economy, China possesses an insatiable appetite for Latin American natural resources and agricultural products, and is now beginning to realize its full potential as a world power, challenging and, perhaps overshadowing, the United States in a number of economic sectors—China’s quest could rival the U.S.’ need for the same products.
• With $50 billion worth of trade and investments in Latin America, China is promoting its “peaceful rise” policy, while pledging to help Latin American developing countries achieve their own potential.
• U.S. risks losing trade revenue as well as sought-after products to Sino-Latin American cooperation
Is Washington Losing Latin America?
Washington also worries about China's growing presence in Latin America, a concern that has already been the subject of congressional hearings. In fact, some members of Congress view China as the most serious challenge to U.S. interests in the region since the collapse of the Soviet Union [...]as potential threats to the long-standing pillar of U.S. policy in the hemisphere, the Monroe Doctrine.
China's interest in Latin America is significant and expanding. The region has become a vital source of raw materials and foodstuffs for China. In the past six years, Chinese imports from Latin America have grown more than sixfold, or by nearly 60 percent a year. Beijing also faces a major political challenge in the region: of the 26 countries that recognize Taiwan, 12 are in Latin America or the Caribbean. China is intent on reducing that number through aggressive diplomacy and increased trade, aid, and investment.
Still, there are some U.S. policy initiatives that could improve hemispheric relations. What Latin American governments consistently press hardest for are changes in U.S. farm policy that would lower barriers to the region's food and fiber exports. In particular, they want cuts in U.S. subsidies to agricultural producers and reductions of tariffs and quotas on key commodities. These changes would not only increase Latin American exports and create jobs, but they would also revive negotiations toward the proposed FTAA and open the way to more secure access to U.S. trade, investment, and technology -- precisely what the region desires from its relationship with the United States
Originally posted by Muaddib
Anyways, imo yes China is a threat to the U.S. and we should be making sure they don't get a hold of strategic points for any invasion/attack they might have in mind.
The chinese are training armies of countries who call the U.S. as their main enemy. Russia has been helping countries who also call themselves enemies of the U.S. Both China and Russia have military pacts.
Originally posted by k4rupt
So you guys assume that China is a threat to the U.S. because they are training Latin American soldiers? How about the U.S.? They have airbases surrounding China with the ability to bomb any Chinese city within an hour. Wonder how the Chinese feel?