The Chinese regime said it’s wrapping up its construction of artificial islands in the South China Sea, and all signs suggest its next big push will be into the Indian Ocean.
Conflicts are already surfacing. India was caught off guard in May, when the Chinese regime docked a submarine in the nearby port of Karachi in Pakistan. Close to two months later, on July 1, Chinese defense spokesman senior Col. Yang Yujin tried lightening the concern by saying the Chinese navy’s activities in the Indian Ocean are “open and transparent.”
The same day, a very different announcement was made by a senior captain from China’s National Defense University. He warned India, saying they cannot view the Indian Ocean as their backyard.
It’s unlikely the Chinese will back down, according to Richard Fisher, senior fellow with the International Assessment and Strategy Center.
“An effort to break out of the South China Sea, and then project into the Indian Ocean is one of the opening moves in China’s quest for global military and economic dominance,” Fisher said in a phone interview.
The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is trying to build new international trade networks under its own control. Part of this will be its new Silk Road, which will include connecting China to Pakistan with roads, rails, and oil pipelines. The other side of this is its “Maritime Silk Road,” coupled with an effort to gain control or influence at all major maritime trade chokepoints.
What it’s trying to do is replicate the Pax Americana—only with a Chinese model based around selective access and strong-arming nearby countries.
The Pax Americana is the projection of U.S. military power, which secures free trade and supports a relative global peace. This includes placing military assets at all strategic sea lines of communications (SLOCs).
Experts call the Chinese version of the Pax Americana the “Pax Sinica.” To build this, the CCP plans to abandon “the traditional mentality that land outweighs sea” and begin to “protect the security of strategic SLOCs and overseas interests,” according to the Chinese military strategy white paper released on May 26.
As opposed to the U.S. system, however, the Chinese strategy is based on a version of mercantilism to control trade—as we’ve witnessed in its military push in the South China Sea, where it is beginning to deny access to other nations.
“It’s long been my conclusion that China’s ultimate goal is to become the pre-eminent global superpower, and to suppress the United States where necessary in the achievement of this goal,” Fisher said.
“China basically wants to benefit from such a pre-eminent position as has the United States for most of the period since World War II,” he said.
The Next Job
A significant portion of the projects these companies are involved in tie directly to the its Maritime Silk Road. Among these are large-scale port projects in Pakistan’s Karachi and Gwadar—as well as in nearby Sri Lanka’s Colombo Port City, Hambantota Port, and others.
While this new effort is just starting, according to Robert Haddick, an independent contractor at U.S. Special Operations Command, it’s important to remember that most observers and analysts were caught off guard by the speed of the CCP’s construction in the South China Sea.
“You couldn’t find many analysts who could have guessed where we are today with the sand piles that China has managed to build up in the South China Sea,” Haddick said, in a phone interview. “It happened pretty suddenly and in a surprising fashion.”
“We shouldn’t close our minds to the possibility of further surprises in the Indian Ocean region also,” he said.
Surrounding the Indian Ocean
The newspaper The Namibian stirred up controversy on Nov. 19, 2014, when it published a report saying the CCP is planning to build 18 naval bases surrounding the Indian Ocean. It listed these bases in Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Burma, Djibouti, Yemen, Oman, Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique, Seychelles, and Madagascar.
According to Robert C. O’Brien of Real Clear Defense on March 25, the thinkers behind the CCP’s string of pearls strategy may already be eyeing the next step.
“China’s Indian Ocean-based ‘string of pearls’ naval base strategy to protect the country’s 21st century vision of a ‘maritime silk road’ looks like it may now extend all the way to the South Atlantic,” O’Brien wrote.
Full article: China to Extend Military Control to Indian Ocean (The Epoch Times)