US ‘should be concerned’ about Chinese influence in Latin America: military commander

NEWYou can now listen to Fox News articles!

The commander of US Southern Command has raised concerns that the US is not matching China’s grand strategy in Latin America.

“Flying along the Panama Canal and looking at all the PRC’s state-owned enterprises on either side of the Panama Canal, I’m concerned…they look like civilian enterprises or state-owned enterprises that could be used to dual use,” Gen. Laura Richardson said on day two of the Aspen Security Forum.

“[They] could be quickly turned into a military capability if they needed it too, so when I look at that, the investment they’re making…I think we should be concerned.

China’s global strategy involves extensive investment in overseas markets, particularly in the Middle East and Latin America. Even as Beijing grapples with domestic economic pressures and a lagging recovery, it has maintained foreign investment, largely guided by its Belt and Road Initiative.

SPACE COMMAND HEAD RESPONDS TO THREATS FROM CHINA AND RUSSIA; CALLS FOR INTERNATIONAL STANDARDS: “IT’S THE WILD, THE FAR WEST”

Richardson, as commander of SOUTHCOM, oversees operations in the Caribbean, South America, and Central America. She criticized what she calls “Southern blindness,” where the United States cares far more about what is happening in the East and West, but not as much about what is happening in its own backyard.

“SOUTHCOM’s area of ​​responsibility…it’s a very, very important region,” she explained. “I see it as the 20-yard line. If you want to talk about sports and make a sports analogy, we’re on the 20-yard line to the homeland and the United States, and our competitors know that.”

U.S. Army Major General Laura J. Richardson, the first woman to serve as deputy commander of a combat division, listens as he sits behind the Army Chief of Staff , Gen. Mark Milley (L) during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on the implementation of the decision to open all ground combat units to women on Capitol Hill in Washington, February 2, 2016 .
(Reuters/Kevin Lamarque)

She pointed to vital factors such as the fact that 60% of the world’s lithium supply is in the region, along with light sweet crude, rare earth metals and 31% of the world’s fresh water.

“There are opponents taking advantage of this area every day,” Richardson said.

MILLEY LEADS REVIEW OF US CHINESE MILITARY CONTACTS AMID BEIJING WARNING POSSES NATIONAL SECURITY THREAT

China is one such adversary that has continued to intensify its interest and investment in the region. Brazilian Foreign Minister Carlos Franca spoke with Fox News Digital about his country’s international dynamics, noting that China ranks as Brazil’s top trading partner.

He explained that Brazil does not see China “as a threat”, but rather as a superpower that has developed a “very mutually beneficial relationship” between the two nations.

A view of the Panama Canal expansion project on Friday, March 18, 2016.

A view of the Panama Canal expansion project on Friday, March 18, 2016.

“I have to tell you, who first helped Brazil with vaccines? It was China at the darkest hour of the pandemic. The first vaccines arrived from China,” he said, adding that debate over “security concerns” between rival nations – such as in the United States and China – is “much more common…in those countries than (in) countries like Brazil”.

But Richardson insists the United States must strive to improve its working relationship with regional partners to limit China’s advantages in Latin America.

REPRESENTING. GREG MURPHY PRESSES TO FORCE UNIVERSITIES TO TAKE ENDOWMENT FUNDS FROM CHINESE AND OTHER HOSTILE SOCIETIES

“I say China is playing chess,” she said. “They have a long-term vision: they stage the theater, that’s what we use as a doctrinal term or as I can put it in layman’s terms.”

The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly weakened South and Central American countries by pushing 22 million people into poverty and making the region more vulnerable to overtures and investments from China: Richardson said that 21 of the 25 countries in the region have joined China’s Belt and Road initiative. .

Retirees from Venezuela's state-owned oil company PDVSA demonstrate outside the company's headquarters to demand their pension funds, in Caracas, Venezuela, August 3, 2021.

Retirees from Venezuela’s state-owned oil company PDVSA demonstrate outside the company’s headquarters to demand their pension funds, in Caracas, Venezuela, August 3, 2021.
(Reuters/Leonardo Fernandez Viloria)

“A metro station, a railway, a highway, telecommunications, a dam: various projects under the guise of economy,” she said. “There seems to be investment in this region, (and) these countries are hungry for investment. They are hungry to have and to show that they live up to their people.”

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

“We need to strengthen our neighborhood, and we need to realize how resource-rich this neighborhood is and how close our competitors and adversaries are in the area,” she said.

Back To Top