National Security / Politics

China Expands Global Reach While Leaving Suffering and Destruction in Its Wake

AMAC Exclusive – By Ben Solis

Addressing the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) earlier this month, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi cautioned member states to “insulate this region from geopolitical calculations” and “from being used as chess pieces from major power rivalry and from coercion.” The comments were a thinly veiled warning to the United States and the West to stay out of China’s way in the Indo-Pacific. But if recent events are any indication, it is China, not the United States and the West, that hopes to use every other country in the region as “chess pieces” to advance Chinese geopolitical ambitions.

Perhaps the clearest example of China’s aggressive exploitation of its neighbors is the case of Sri Lanka, where political unrest has rocked the nation in recent weeks. As Yi was delivering his remarks in Jakarta, hundreds of thousands of protestors in the Sri Lankan capital of Colombo had occupied the residences of the president and prime minister, forcing them to flee and tossing the country into further chaos.

While widespread mismanagement and corruption by the Sri Lankan government undoubtedly played a large role in the country’s economic collapse, predatory Chinese lending practices also contributed to the crisis. Over the past decade, Sri Lanka has become a major target of China’s “Belt and Road Initiative” (BRI), a massive infrastructure scheme designed to expand Chinese influence around the globe.

As part of BRI, China built enormously expensive ports on the southern coast of the country – lending billions of dollars to the Sri Lankan government to do so. When the government was unable to repay the loans back in 2017, China forced them to lease the ports and thousands of acres of land around them to the Chinese government for 99 years – effectively giving the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) an outpost right on the doorstep of India, a major American ally in the region.

According to government sources, Sri Lanka will need $5 billion over the next six months to ensure basic services like hospitals and utilities continue to function, and the country is imploring the CCP to approve a renegotiation of $1.5 billion in debt to fund imports of fuel and food. But the Chinese government has thus far refused to negotiate.

China’s treatment of Sri Lanka is precisely what Wang Yi told ASEAN countries the United States would do if given more influence in the region. Yet it was the U.S.-backed International Monetary Fund which ultimately agreed to negotiate another $3 billion loan to Sri Lanka.

But China’s abuse of its neighbors and pillaging of foreign nations for its own gain does not stop there. With the Taliban’s rise to power in Afghanistan following the disastrous U.S. exit last year, the CCP saw another opportunity to expand its reach in Central Asia.

Within a matter of weeks following the U.S. evacuation, Chinese officials had met with Taliban leaders, drawing up plans for BRI-style projects inside the country. China’s economic developments included a rare earth metals mine, railways linking Afghanistan to Pakistan and other surrounding countries, and a military base in Kandahar – all under Chinese control. Without the U.S., Chinese officials promised that China will be the guarantor of peace and stability in the region.

Then on June 22 of this year, a powerful 6.1 magnitude earthquake rocked southeast Afghanistan, with tremors felt more than 300 miles away in Pakistan and India. The resulting destruction left at least 1,000 people dead and erased two villages from the map entirely. Mud and brick homes collapsed on sleeping families, many of whom had no time to escape the danger in the middle of the night.

Following the disaster, China pledged $7.5 million for recovery efforts. However, with the exception of some mattresses and tents received at the Kabul airport to much fanfare by Chinese state media, the remaining assistance has yet to arrive. In a telling omission, one tweet from Afghanistan’s Taliban spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid, mentioned trucks of food and assistance from Pakistan, Iran, and Qatar, but made no mention of any aid from China.

Meanwhile, the U.S. provided some $55 million in relief efforts, funneled into the country via the U.N. and Red Cross so as to avoid it falling into Taliban hands. Other Western nations ranging from the U.K. to Australia contributed millions more, providing much-needed relief to the mostly rural villagers who were hardest hit by the quake.

Throughout the world, this same story has played out time and again. From Africa to Asia and South America, China has used its debt-trap diplomacy to force developing nations under its thumb, all in an effort to gain leverage over the United States. According to a January report from the BBC, “there are now more than 40 low and middle-income countries… whose debt exposure to Chinese lenders is more than 10% of the size of their annual economic output (GDP).” With the power to essentially collapse these countries’ economies, the Chinese Communist Party suddenly has immense political and economic influence in dozens of capitals around the world.

At the same time, the U.S.-led Western coalition has been the single greatest force in human history for lifting people out of poverty and setting nations on secure financial footing to become self-sufficient participants in the global economy. Even in the Indo-Pacific, where China has warned against alignment with the U.S., success stories like post-war Japan and South Korea are a testament to the benefits of U.S. involvement.

As a new great power competition continues to emerge between China and the United States, the record of each nation when it comes to bettering lives and outcomes is clear. For the world to build a more prosperous future, the United States must lead the way, not Communist China.

Ben Solis is the pen name of an international affairs journalist, historian, and researcher. 

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Robin Boyd
4 months ago

We must keep in mind that China is a Communist nation that needs to expand in order to continue being Communist. The U.S. fought Communism internationally while Communist supporters within the U.S. steered the U.S. toward more Socialism.

4 months ago

Now, I think it is clear who rigged the election. The Chinese were losing a lot of money with Trump in office and the policies he defined making China play fair in trade.
They cannot survive unless they are cheating Americans. And Trump was stopping this, or at least impeding it.
Now, was the COVID release an accident? Who was really controlling the voting machines? There is a lot of money coming in from China to kill our country.
But the dumbasses do not realize, if the U.S. market no longer exists because they have destroyed it, they will not be making any money from us. In the end they will be killing themselves.

4 months ago

The Chinese have scams all over the internet, defrauding anyone who will bite on the deals, money. I saw at least 8 sites with adds for 14.5 inch house trailer tires. I bit!

What I received was a small light weight cloth arm covering, which they charged me $10 for shipping. They are refusing to refund the shipping costs.

The Chinese are out to get us. They have no morals. They are acting like an out of control business doing anything they can do to get money into their coffers.

I threatened to report them to the FTC. They just offered to re-ship ore refund my money minus the shipping fee.

If I saw 8, how many are really there?

The Chinese are coming!

4 months ago
Reply to  PIDL

The Chinese are here….and they are crooks and liars. They also use facebook to hawk their wares,most of which are trash. Had the same result you did trying to order a small chain saw. Took my money and never did send the product. China should be banned from advertising on the net.
As usual, Trump was right.

Norm White
4 months ago

I understand that Chinese Government-affiliated entities are funding housing acquisitions in Florida. Will housing inflation already rampant nationally, is the undermining of the American economy already underway?

Bonnie Sult
4 months ago

Please discuss this effort again and again. China set up a port in Freeport, Bahamas right on our USA doorstep and is busy doing the same thing there. Not a peep about Chinese help in the news after the major hurricane devastated the islands 3 years ago. BRI is a major problem.

anna hubert
4 months ago

Nothing new under the sun not a peep from the press or politicians for decades would probably be faster to list what they don’t own

Stephen Russell
4 months ago

China is buying:
US farmland
Homes, apts in FL?

Bill T
4 months ago

China did not put tens of millions of dollars into the corrupt BIDEN’S families coffers for nothing! They are extremely dangerous and totally focused on becoming the world’s super power. And with putting a few BILLION DOLLARS into a treasonous political system in the USA , with the hundreds of billions of dollars of product that we buy every year from them it’s money in the bank for them. It’s actually More like trillions. China could not maneuver these back door deals with our former president, but they didn’t let JOE buy estates and live a millionaire’s life for nothing. Our president sold our country out. And so did all these other diabolical countries.

Bill T
4 months ago
Reply to  Bill T

And our former president Obama is right now building a massive 50 million dollar estate in HAWAII, wonder what great maneuver’s they worked out!

David Millikan
4 months ago

DICTATOR Beijing biden following COMMUNIST China
waving China’s flag all the way.

4 months ago

China is merely consolidating its power in the region as the United States, under Team Biden, continues to be intentionally destroying American influence around the world. Belt and Road has always been about extending China’s power and influence around the world.

As to Sri Lanka, article completely misses the primary reason for the uprising there. It was NOT solely China, but rather the decision of the socialist government in charge there to adopt ruinous climate change policies that led, within the space of a few years, to massive food shortages and starvation of the populace. Yes, the Sri Lankan President took billions from the CCP under Belt and Road, but he like other corrupt officials simply pocketed a large part of the money for himself. Which is why he is now sunning himself in luxury in the Maldives. The people rose up to rid themselves of a socialist President that refused to either back down or even discuss the ruinous policies he had instituted, that were actually killing his people. So they had no choice but to forcibly remove him from office.

4 months ago
Reply to  PaulE

There you go again PaulE DEAD ON , i sure wish the American people who think the democrats are doing a good thing by bringing socialism to us every day could really understand what it will be like for their young ones down the road,,, ITS ALREADY DEATH AND DISTRUCTION ,,,

4 months ago

Very good piece and some very valid points. The issue however is that none of the pillars of our national might— in DC: the Executive and Legislative branches, the Intel Community, scientific/medicine, command and flag rank leadership of our military, DOJ; nor our economic/entrepreneurial influence base— have neither the intellectual nor the strategic thinking capacity to develop a solution that will prevent China from exploiting other nation’s economically while expanding their global influence. Our institutions are paralyzed by groupthink and the cult of environmental and social justice, while focusing on C.Y.A. activities, all in an effort to protect their status and/or cushy Swamp existence, or their titles. For these reasons, American individual Liberty must be preserved at all costs.

Bob Olden
4 months ago
Reply to  Westhus

Wow you hit the nail on the head! Very well stated summation that we all need to hear repeatedly and our political leaders on the right need to state at every opportunity. We can’t change until we completely reject the groupthink that has paralyzed our country!

4 months ago

We need to take back all of the land that China has purchased here in the US. Not to mention all the secrets they have stolen from us. They are destroying our way of life and our freedom.

Bonnie Sult
4 months ago
Reply to  Troybuilt

Don’t forget that they also bought the Smithfield Meat packing company several years ago.

4 months ago

We need to kick China out of the USA before they buy up more properties…and in conjunction clean up our own go ernments…State and Federal. Its a lot to ask but it needs to be done. If not our Freedom will die.

4 months ago
Reply to  Jeanette

We need to cut China off all the way.

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