June 12, 2006
China's Growing Involvement in Latin America
By Dr. Mohan Malik
China's forays into Latin America are part of its grand strategy to acquire "comprehensive national power"
to become a "global great power that is second to none." Aiming to secure access to the continent's vast natural resources
and markets, China is forging deep economic, political and military ties with most of the Latin American and Caribbean countries.
There is more to China's Latin American activism than just fuel for an economic juggernaut. China now provides a major source
of leverage against the United States for some Latin American and Caribbean countries. As in many other parts of the developing
world, China is redrawing geopolitical alliances in ways that help propel China's rise as a global superpower. Beijing's courtship
of Latin American countries to support its plan to subdue Taiwan and enlist them to join a countervailing coalition against
U.S. global power under the rubric of strengthening economic interdependence and globalization has begun to attract attention
Nonetheless, Beijing's relations with the region are neither too cozy nor frictionless. For Latin America
and the Caribbean countries, China is an enviable competitor and rival, potential investor, customer, economic partner, a
great power friend and counterweight to the United States, and, above all, a global power, much like the United States, that
needs to be handled with care.
As in Asia and Africa, China is rapidly expanding its economic and diplomatic presence
in Latin America -- a region the United States has long considered inside its sphere of influence. China's interest in Latin
America is driven by its desire to secure reliable sources of energy and raw materials for its continued economic expansion,
compete with Taiwan for diplomatic recognition, pursue defense and intelligence opportunities to define limits to U.S. power
in its own backyard, and to showcase China's emergence as a truly global great power at par with the United States.
Latin America, China is viewed differently in different countries. Some Latin American countries see China's staggering economic
development as a panacea or bonanza (Argentina, Peru, and Chile view China as an insatiable buyer of commodities and an engine
of their economic growth); others see it as a threat (Mexico, Brazil, and the Central American republics fear losing jobs
and investment); and a third group of countries consider China their ideological ally (Bolivia, Cuba, and Venezuela).
For the balance of this report please go to ''China's Growing Involvement in Latin America,'' PINR,
June 12, 2006.
Dr. Mohan Malik is a professor at the Asia-Pacific
Center for Security Studies in Honolulu, Hawaii. Dr. Malik's views expressed in PINR are his own and do not reflect the policy
or position of the Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies or the U.S. Department of Defense.
PINR is an independent organization that utilizes open source intelligence to provide conflict analysis
services in the context of international relations.
Reprinted with permission from Power and Interest News Report.