Testimony before the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission
©2021 Global Americans
This article was originally published in the Military Review magazine, English edition (November-December 2019).
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Uruguay, like many countries in Latin America, has deepened its relationship with China in recent years. Unlike in neighboring countries, however, Uruguay’s strong institutions and interest in maintaining a relationship with the U.S. have tempered its newfound friendship with Beijing. Under the government of Luis Lacalle Pou, the country has been especially tactful, increasing trade with the People’s Republic of China (PRC) while expressing skepticism toward investment. Other countries in Latin America should follow in Uruguay’s path to make the most of the opportunities provided by China.
Abstract. This paper examines Chinese commercial, political, and security engagement with Latin America and the Caribbean, comparing it with similar engagement in Europe. It finds evidence that PRC engagement globally is driven by a strategy focused on re-orienting the world to the economic benefit of the PRC, with nonetheless important political, institutional, and security engagement in support of these objectives and the consequences of their pursuit. It finds common elements in China’s pursuit of secure sources of supply, markets and technology across regions, its use of the PRC government supporting roles, with differences reflecting the governance and political structure of each partner, the economic opportunities available, and the imperatives of geography. It finds that PRC “soft power” over political and business elites in both regions is significant, based more in the expectation of benefit than an alignment of values, and thus can coexist with mistrust of the PRC. It finds that Europe and Latin America can gain insights from examining Chinese engagement in each other’s regions. It also finds that engagement in each impacts the other through the roles of Chinese companies as both competitors and partners of Western European ones in both regions, and through intraregional supply chains and the flows of funds through mergers and acquisitions by China of stakes in those companies.
Testimony before the U.S. House of Representatives/ Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere, Civilian Security, Migration, and International Economic Policy
This article was originally published in the Military Review magazine, English edition (January-February 2021).
This article was originally published in the Military Review magazine, English edition (March-April 2021)
El Salvador’s recognition of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) in August 2018 was the third such change in Latin America following the end of the informal truce that had restrained the PRC’s diplomatic competition with Taiwan between 2008 and 2016. This pivot also precipitated expressions of concern from Washington, whose reaction to prior changes in diplomatic posture by the Varela government in Panama (June 2017) and the Medina government in the Dominican Republic (May 2018) had been more muted. Since then, El Salvador’s experience with the PRC has been decidedly mixed, reflecting a combination of Central American economies’ short-term limitations in boosting their exports to China, diplomatic pushback and counterincentives from the United States, and the PRC’s failure to follow through on some of its promises—not to mention the arrival of the Covid-19 pandemic, which devastated the global economy and put projects on hold across the region.