The United States and China are not only leading a trade “battle” between them, but are also competing to strengthen their presence in Latin America. The Asian country is advancing with its presence in the West and seems to be on the verge of putting the United States in check as a regional power.
In the last two decades, China has taken advantage of the weaknesses of the countries in the region to dethrone the influence of the United States. With millionaire loans, unfulfilled agreements, and irregular business deals, it managed to become the second-largest trading partner in the West with US$ 372 billion.
The case of Venezuela, a vulnerable country involved in a humanitarian crisis, is an example of how China managed to enter and practically take over economic sectors.
An investigation conducted by Alianza Rebelde Investiga (ARI) and Connectas, revealed that between 2003 and 2017 Venezuela agreed with China on 17 projects that reached an investment of US$ 22 billion, but none of them met the target; in fact, 29 % of them were not completed.
These are deals that were supposedly intended to “connect the country with trains, build houses, take a satellite into space, manufacture home appliances, process rice, bring water to thousands of homes and mobilize Venezuelans in modern buses.”
According to the NGO Transparencia Venezuela, in a report published in 2020, within the framework of this bilateral relationship US$ 68,678.21 million was invested between 1999 and 2019, which did not pass through the controllership filters established by Venezuelan legislation.
Margaret Myers, director of the program Asia in Latin America of the Inter-American Dialogue, told Connectas that China initiated investments in the region in 2005 under the Going Out strategy that sets out three objectives: accessing natural resources, expanding its market, and internationalizing companies.
“It is much worse in Venezuela than in other countries. But you can find other examples of failure and corruption as well,” Myers said.
China’s massive presence in Venezuela is also seen in other countries in the region; and although not in all nations there were unfulfilled agreements, the most common is that billions of dollars indebted dozens of countries with the Asian nation.
A BBC report revealed that China distributes at least twice as much money “for the development of the region” as the United States and other major powers. It notes that most of the money is in risky, high-interest loans from China’s state-owned banks that are also “saddling unsuspecting populations in sky-high debt.”
“China’s international development finance commitments amount to about $85bn. And by comparison, the US is spending about $37bn in any given year to support global development activities,” Brad Parks, executive director of AidData, told the BBC.
According to the news agency’s report, “many Chinese state developments loans also demand unusual forms of collateral,” it notes that increasingly, “Chinese loans appear to require borrowers to promise hard cash earned from selling natural resources.”
“A deal with Venezuela, for example, demands the Venezuelan borrower deposit the foreign currency earned by selling oil directly into a bank account controlled by China. If a debt payment is missed, the Chinese lender can immediately withdraw the cash waiting in the account,” the report notes.
China puts the United States “in check”
As early as March 2021, then-Southern Command Admiral Craig S. Faller admitted that the United States is losing leverage in the region to China.
Faller warned about major threats to U.S. security and spoke about Beijing’s expansionist moves, with China using “mask and vaccination” diplomacy to exert its influence.
“The strategic prospect of the People’s Republic of China with more than 40 ports underway, significant lending as political leverage and predatory practices in illegal fishing are undermining democratic institutions in this hemisphere,” he said.
“To gain more access, presence and influence in the region, China and Russia deployed medical diplomacy and disinformation campaigns, often over-promising and under-delivering,” Faller noted.
He recalled that the Asian regime offeredUS$1 billion in loans for its Covid-19 vaccine, improved medical infrastructure and signed agreements with Argentina, Brazil, Peru and other countries.
“This will further indebt the region to China which already has $165 billion in loans,” he said.
Why is China’s advance a threat to the USA?
In December 2020 John Ratcliffe, director of National Intelligence, noted that China “is the greatest threat this country (USA) has faced since World War II.”
“Beijing intends to dominate the United States and the rest of the planet economically, militarily and technologically. Many of China’s major public initiatives and prominent enterprises provide only a cloak of camouflage for the activities of the Chinese Communist Party,” he added.
“I call their approach to economic espionage steal, replicate and replace. China strips U.S. companies of their intellectual property, replicates the technology, and then replaces U.S. companies in the global marketplace,” he warned.
The statements of the intelligence specialists coincide with the information issued to El American by Joseph Humire, an expert in Global Security, who revealed that the main enemies of the United States have tried to break the rule of law in this country.
“China is the number two power in the world, it is the regime that wants to make sure that the United States is no longer a superpower in order to occupy the number one position in the world and change the international system in its favor. China is advancing in all aspects, in geopolitics, in economics, and in the military domain,” Humire said.
China steals information using unconventional methods
It was during the administration of President Barack Obama when the Asian country managed to get closer to the United States and grow in its evil intentions. While in the four years of Donald Trump’s administration, the visas of some 1,000 Chinese students and researchers suspected of espionage in the United States were revoked.
Obama — who lived in the White House from 2009 to January 2017 — maintained a permissive relationship with the Asian country without confronting the millionaire plagiarisms to American companies.
China stole, with unconventional methods, information, and intellectual property from American companies; and for this one of the methods it used was to rely on allied regimes that helped it become the commercial giant it is today.
FBI Director Christopher Wray stated that the Chinese regime’s theft of American intellectual property resulted in one of the largest transfers of wealth in human history.
China-related economic espionage cases have increased by approximately 1,300 % in the last decade, Wray said. The FBI informed that it has more than 1,000 investigations into possible theft of U.S. technology and approximately 1,000 more China-related intelligence investigations.