Jad El Khannoussi
Astract: The return of China to the international political scene, after two centuries of absence, not only made it recover its historical place as an influential force in the rules of the game of nations, that modified the balance of forces as the fall of the Berlin Wall estimated the creation of a unilateral world, under the command of Washington, would mark the twenty-first century, placing the Asian giant at the forefront of enormous internal and, above all, external challenges in order to maintain its successful, economical model. Possibly, one of the biggest challenges that the Chinese face is undoubtedly the lack of energy. This article highlights threats that surround China, especially in the Malacca Strait and the measures adopted by the country to solve these problems.
The return of China to the international political scene, after two centuries of absence, not only made it recover its historical place as an influential force in the rules of the game of nations, that modified the balance of forces as the fall of the Berlin Wall estimated the creation of a unilateral world, under the command of Washington, would mark the twenty-first century, placing the Asian giant at the forefront of enormous internal and, above all, external challenges in order to maintain its successful, economical model. Possibly, one of the biggest challenges that the Chinese face is undoubtedly the lack of energy. This article highlights threats that surround China, especially in the Malacca Strait and the measures adopted by the country to solve these problems. There is no economy that does not work without energy, and this one – oil- runs through the economy just as blood flows throughout the human body. And China is a country that suffers from insufficient energy reserves, compared to its growing domestic demand, both human and industrial, since it consumes about 23% of the global total. This percentage means that the Asian country surpasses the United States as the largest energy consumer.
A new demand that provokes a radical turn in the global energy panorama and in the geopolitical sphere: in the routes of the passage of these raw materials, specifically the maritime routes. Today, 90% of world trade and 65% of oil transits salty waters, due to its low cost compared to other means of transport, and 30% of these figures sail through the Indian Ocean. For this reason, the China Sea region has acquired major importance after the rise of the Asian economies. An environment of increasing wealth that has opened the fight for energy resources, which is known as “The Great Game”, in a context of great transformations related to the production and consumption of oil, and also to the increase of gas that since the beginning of the new millennium has gained more and more ground. The scarcity of resources activates competition and geopolitical rivalries between the great powers, especially in those regions (for example, the Middle East) where precious natural resources abound and acquire great strategic importance as places of passage or connection between seas and continents (straits or maritime channels). Let us not ignore that international policy moves around these transport routes that guarantee security for the processes of production and export of energy, since the ultimate goal is to ensure global financial stability, in the event that conflict is declared against a country that dared to close these commercial routes.
Like other powers, China devotes specific attention to these sea routes, especially those that extend from the China Sea to the Middle East, due to the importance they play in the transit of their maritime trade and their exchanges with the rest of countries. In addition, Beijing is aware that these itineraries can be used as a measure of pressure in moments of political tension or risk of conflicts.
History is full of similar cases, such as when Egypt besieged Israel. A situation that China wants to avoid at any price, so it tries to guarantee the transfer of these sea routes, to ensure the supply of energy and the export of goods that are the engine of its economy. The best example is represented by its new doctrine that of the Pearl Necklace, whose objective is to face any regional and global threats and challenges that may put in question his economic strength. In this context, the importance of the Strait of Malacca emerges an authentic bottleneck that constitutes its only outlet to the salty waters. Around 90% of its energy needs come from this strait and its exports pass through it. Malacca, therefore, represents a vital issue for the Chinese economy, and the highlight of its national security concerns.
This article deals with the Strait of Malacca and its geostrategic importance, the Chinese sensibility towards this privileged enclave and its new proposals against the gradual dissatisfaction of other regional powers, as well as the growing American siege that the Chinese suffer in this area of great geostrategic global importance.
1. Energy security: a new term?
The term “energy security” saw the light on a planetary scale after the Second World War, when it turned into a paradigm like others (food, economic, social). Daniel Yergun delayed its appearance until the year 1912, when Admiral Winston Churchill decided that the British marine ships would work with oil instead of coal, in order to sail faster than the German navy. A decision – according to Yergun – that forced London to do without the Welsh mineral and focus on the search for the precious black gold, especially in Iran. From that moment, the issue of energy security became one of the most pressing strategies on a global level1. Whether we use the first or second date (a delimitation that continues to be ambiguous to this day, despite the growing interest of many academics and researchers2), the fact is that the issue, acquired or rather monopolized global attention during its period of greatest tension, the oil crisis in 1973, when consuming countries were forced to guarantee their crude supplies, to such an extent that in the international scenario they began to appreciate the desired “energy independence”. With the fall of the Berlin Wall the resonance of the term increased, which was not only limited to military factors or traditional strategies but extended to other areas to cover different terms (cultural, environmental, etc.), especially after the Second Gulf War waged against Iraq (1991). The Iraqi invasion of Kuwait called into question the control of what was known as the “energy belt”. It generated much concern at the international level, especially in the United States, since Jimmy Carter’s mandate linked their national security with the security of the Arab regions, precisely because of the energy factor3.
The control of energy is one of the issues that monopolizes the strategic calculations of all the countries, which try to cover their needs for oil or gas supplies as they did before using other resources (for example water, which just as it happened with oil, was the core of numerous conflicts). The energy issue generates an underground struggle between countries, especially the great powers, which not only fight for the control of natural resources but also seek to guarantee their free circulation, mainly through maritime crossings. With this objective, the presence of a multitude of military bases in a large part of the oceans is explained, especially in places where raw materials abound or where gas pipelines cross (for example, the Arab world or the South China Sea). Precisely, this area is a privileged witness of the great transformations in which the world remains involved since the twilight of the last century. We refer to the increase in energy consumption by the West that comes from the Far East, especially China, which has become the largest consumer on a planetary scale.
Since adopting the policy of economic opening, the Asian giant has been immersed in a process of economic expansion that in numerous occasions grew by 10%, a fact that allowed it to regain its prominence on a global scale after having lost it as a result of the opium war against the English. Until that famous war, China produced twice as much steel as England and the United States combined.
2. The Strait of Malacca: a unique geostrategic importance
The Strait of Malacca is formed by a long corridor in the South-East-Northwest direction. It extends for 800 kilometres in length, with a variable between 50 and 320. Its width occupies only 2.8 kilometres in its narrowest stretch, the Straits of Philips or Singapore. Its minimum depth is located in its midpoint, which conditions the draft of the ships that cross it daily. In the Southeast, it communicates with the Strait of Singapore, which remains closed to traffic, although it is possible to navigate through several other channels4. It is considered the second maritime step – after Hormuz- the most important in the world, because daily through its water sail huge amounts of money, whose value is over 6 trillion dollars.
From remote times the channel enjoyed a prominent role in the commercial routes. The great empires of antiquity, beginning with the Egyptians, crossed the entire Pacific through this strait in the direction of America for the exchange of goods. The same mercantile pattern was followed by all the others. The rise of the Asian economies at the end of the last century, especially China, made it acquire major importance, and Malacca became a crossroads between Europe, Southeast Asia and the Pacific Ocean. For its coveted waters sails 40% of global trade, about 50 thousand merchant ships a year, with an average of 137 boats a day. A very elevated average of energy needs, coming from the Middle East and Africa, that is being consumed by the countries of the region that surround their waters (China 90%, Japan 85%) go through the canal. Therefore we talk about the most consuming countries in the world in terms of energy, as well as those with the largest population. The same can be said of countries such as South Korea, Malaysia or the Philippines, among others. Not forgetting the trade of spices from India, among other products. And above all, the marine and fishing resources. In this regard, it is estimated that the South China Sea houses more than 7 billion barrels of oil, as well as 900 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.
This privileged geostrategic location – a point of union of the region that extends from the Peninsula of India to the Middle East – turns the Strait of Malacca into one of the hottest points of the planet, especially for China, which obtains its only exit there abroad through its salty waters. Therefore, for more than a decade the Asian giant has not ceased to strengthen its naval armada, seeking to face the growing challenges. Especially, to the constant North American siege attempts in alliance with the surrounding countries. Washington considers this seaway as an authentic master key to exercise control, especially when observing, from the Second Gulf War (1991), the difficulty to exert its control over the oceans and its maritime passages, and before the possible emergence of China as a power capable of challenging North American leadership.
3. The Malacca Strait and China: a matter of life and death?
China is a country that has a wide variety of energy reserves: oil, gas, coal, among others. Its oil reserves reach 21.3 billion barrels. However, this amount does not completely cover their needs, as their reserves do not exceed 2% of the global total, while their population represents 22% worldwide. Progressively, its wells, especially those in the coastal region, decrease. And their needs – as predicted by the world delegation of energy – will increase: from 1,742 million tons of oil to 3,810 in the year 2030. That is, a percentage of 33.2%5, which will make the Asian giant the maximum consumer on a planetary scale. Beijing is experiencing excessive economic growth that demands a constant contribution of energy. It currently consumes 10.3 million barrels per day (17.2% of world consumption), and forecasts indicate that it will increase to 15 million barrels in the coming years6. Therefore, its situation is that of extreme demand in terms of energy supply. These needs continue to grow, and China knows very well that its internal production only covers 4.4% of its needs.
In order to face this problem that challenges its economy – in other words, its inability to satisfy its energy needs and guarantee its growth – the Asian country resorted to a series of investments beyond the seas. What is called Going out Strategy, the search for other parts of the world, especially the Middle East and Africa, the option is not free of risks since most of its imports come from shipping routes. The only certain thing is that the motives are superfluous, because – according to the Chinese professor Xuegerg Zhang – the transport by sea supposes a very low cost if we compare it with other means; for example, for a distance of 100 kilometres it is $ 163 per barrel, while through pipelines it rises to $ 793 and to 719 per railway7. Therefore, China’s dependence on these regions causes its economy to be seriously threatened in the event of a reduction in crude supplies. This worry motivates the Asian giant to be very pending to guarantee its commercial routes, especially the Malacca Strait, through which circulates 90% of all the oil coming from those areas, besides the Pacific. We have already insisted that for China its only exit to the sea is by that vortex, all the products that it transports to the outside have to go through this bottleneck. A context of high tensions that have led some authors to refer to Malacca as the great Chinese alternative, in the case of Professor Tarique Niazi:
“Due to these high percentages of transits that cross the China Sea, the strategic importance of the Strait of Malacca, a vital bottleneck of energy transport, increases, as the dangers that haunt it, the lack of energy self-sufficiency and its dependence they become China’s real dilemma.8“
That is why the capacity of the Asian giant is in question. The experts wonder to what extent they will be able to guarantee the supply of energy to cover their needs, both economic and social, in the face of the constant threats that beset them. Multiple questions make this maritime channel one of the issues of most concern to Chinese leaders. For this reason, they spare no effort, either by signing alliances or agreements with the countries of the region, or by increasing their presence in essential strategic points such as the Arabian Gulf (a military base in Djibouti), the coasts of Sri Lanka, and especially the Strait of Malacca. In short, launch a strategic deployment that is capable of responding to the innumerable challenges posed by its vital supplies. However, this threat generates many doubts. The countries of the region, especially India and the United States, view with great concern the growing Chinese domination in the area. Therefore, the Obama Administration decided to make a strategic turn towards the Pacific, whose military presence, according to Jenny Lin, will not stop growing in the future to guarantee their interests9.
Chinese President Xi Jinping made it very clear in his New Year’s congratulations (2015), that the world is getting bigger, has serious problems and the international community is eager to hear a new voice. The country of the Far East will undoubtedly become even more involved in the affairs of this area during the coming years. In that sense, it has already built its first military base in Djibouti (Horn of Africa), that is, in Bab al-Mandab, which means access to the region from the South. And it aspires to expand its presence in other places, especially after losing Libya and Sudan.
4. The American siege: a brake on the Chinese ascent
After the dismemberment of the USSR and the economic opening of China, the Asian country became aware that economic power is the only force, around which all the others revolve. This mandate allowed it, as time went on, to return to the international political scene, especially in the face of the growing US power that after the bombing of Iraq (1991) seemed unquestionable. The truth is that the forecasts were right. China reaped very high percentages of growth, which not only paved the way for its return to the world stage but also questioned American leadership. To such an extent, that a question acquires more and more weight in the North American elites: if that ecstasy of the United States continues to dominate the world. So, a fundamental question does not arise this way suddenly, it does not come out of anywhere. It appears as a result of the accumulation of a series of errors committed by the US Administration, including its two military operations undertaken in Afghanistan and Iraq, which revealed the limits of both its economic and military forces. The truth is that this unilateral vision of the Anglo-Saxon dream would hardly have become a reality since human nature is based on its diversity. In addition, dictatorships, sooner or later, have to face rebellions. It was the case of the Soviet world, where the voices that rejected that system of the absence of freedoms intensified, until provoking the collapse in chain of all the block.
The economic successes of Beijing were definitively inscribed in the global crisis. The Chinese financial and industrial system not only managed to cope with that earthquake but also enabled it to become the world’s leading investor, following the rescues that took place in a large part of Western countries. At such a favourable juncture it regained global prominence. For decades, Washington was well aware that China, its political union and its cultural conditions, were not in crisis. It was more a tactical manoeuvre made by the Chinese to gain time until the right moment appeared to manifest itself. The North American leaders do not ignore that China managed to develop its political and cultural wealth away from the Western system, at the same time that it was building an economic force destined to become the core of the world economy. Finally, sooner or later, it leaves its ancestral walls to get involved in global affairs.
The Chinese preeminence began with its initiative “Belt and road construction” that will light Beijing in 2013, to recover its old Silk Road and another maritime route. It is a new model of strategic action, after remaining faithful to its theory of the Great Wall of China for decades; They changed their old vision, according to Li Tan10. Beijing, therefore, would be determined to modify the rules laid out in Westphalia (1648) to reflect its growing geopolitical and financial power. In this way, China would generate a compact block (political, economic and military). In addition, the Chinese people need to get involved to realize their wishes and, therefore, compete with the rest of the international blocs. While all this was planned from within China, Washington watched with concern this unstoppable growth, trying to intercede and condemn all the Chinese steps, as it was advanced by the analyst Yi Yang at the time.
“Every time China tries to arrange its diplomatic presence, reform its navy or open channels with other countries, Washington tries to demonize it as a threat. The striking thing is that most of the countries of the planet adopt what the great powers encourage.11”
The Americans took the initiative very soon to face the growing Chinese challenge. For a couple of decades, the United States has not limited its efforts to try to make China, a locked country, in a strategy similar to what George Kenan mentioned about the attempts to contain the USSR and how it began to show up in the times of President Truman12. New proposals and theories began to be developed in Washington, such as that provided by the Karnegui institution in 2005, by Robert Kagan13, who drew up a series of hypotheses to face the Chinese rise. The first point proposed to attract China for a shared rivalry, evolving from a period of suffering to an alliance in which the Asian country became an imperial partner on the international stage, but under the strict surveillance of Washington. The second point was to support the Chinese economic growth and further enhance international trade, thus avoiding the outbreak of conflicts, in addition to providing a series of advantages to Beijing so that it could participate in the international system, always fulfilling the conditions dictated by the West.
The third point called for besieging China – it is seen as an enemy country14 – by means of a series of alliances and military bases, fomenting all kinds of problems, both at the regional and internal levels, and allowing China to exercise its role as a power hegemonic in its regional environment. It seems that the US government opted for the most aggressive option, as highlighted by the new American doctrine (February 2010). The US naval and air force issued a new military document to address the strange threats that arose in the Arabian Gulf and the Western Pacific Ocean (two vital areas for China). The US Foreign Ministry even organized a team for China, made up of naval officers trained in sea and air battles, as a kind of preview of a possible confrontation with Beijing15. In Washington, they are aware of the Chinese danger, or at least that is what is foreseen, according to Alister Johnston:
“In all the conflicts in which China got involved with its neighbours, it almost always took the initiative, despite the principles of Confucius that evoke peace and question going to arms and violence. Based on studies, during the period from 1950 to 1956, Beijing incurred eleven occasions in political tensions, and in eight of them resorted to arms. This percentage surpassed all other situations of violence in which it used force during the last century.16 “
The objective was none other than to weaken China so that it could not defend its territories in regional waters. Soon, these military ideals were reinforced by politicians, who went on to complete what was once called “The Obama Doctrine 2012: The US and the Pacific Century.” Precisely, it is the place where the greatest challenge to the North American planetary leadership is being forged. Washington tries to control the China Sea, one of its great aspirations, what Spykman called the great peripheral seaway of the world17. The trade circulating there is around 6 trillion dollars. Therefore, this area is not very far from the American strategic calculations, which are based on the principles of Alfred Mahan18, land forces against maritime forces. So who controls the seas and oceans holds the domain of the planet, although this hypothesis goes back to the time of the pharaohs (specifically, to the time of Queen Hatshepsut).
The truth is that the totality of the American plans what they claim is their hegemony over the rest of the world because Washington, despite its obvious setback, aspires to maintain its dominance. This is demonstrated by the fact that since the time of President Truman, the maritime hegemony, control of the seas and straits, not only guarantees peace, it can also be a weapon to prevent another power from trying to emerge and, therefore, incite others who want to challenge that leadership. Inserted in this global strategy, US foreign policy focuses on the role of its troops to maintain the current order and, at the same time, ensure their interventions beyond the oceans, with the inevitable establishment of military bases throughout the planet. This is what is materializing in the Pacific, which already warned the American Defense Minister Leon Panetta:
“We are going to take around 60% of our naval armada to the Asia Pacific region around the year 2020, under the concept of returning the balance to the American forces.19“
The project includes fostering alliances with the countries of the region, especially with all those who maintain war or diplomatic confrontations with Beijing. In this way, it generates its own servers to surround China, which in military terms is known as “arrhythmic warfare”. The final objective is to besiege maritime routes of geostrategy importance, controlling goods such as oil or gas, destined for China. And at the same time, weaken any Chinese maritime ascent in the Indian Ocean, whose naval armada grows every year at a surprising rate.
Since then the US has not ceased to foster relations. First with the countries of the fence, that is, those that surround the Strait of Malacca. It is common for Washington to fight with other forces (Soft Power), which is what they plan at least in the medium term. In this regard, the agreement with Singapore (2013) establishes the deployment of four warships at the entrance to the strait. In addition, an agreement with Australia (2014) includes building military bases whose warplanes transport nuclear weapons around the ports of Darwin, Birth and Bribean. At the same time, the US tries to benefit from the clashes between China and the countries of the region (Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei and islands that surround the Strait), conflicts that have intensified in recent years, especially in the Paracels and Spratly Islands, due to important energy discoveries in those waters. Let us not forget that these territories harbour fundamental fishing resources and it is estimated that the South China Sea contains some seven billion barrels of oil and nine hundred trillion cubic feet of natural gas.
China claims a historic right that goes back centuries. In 1947 it published a map that strengthens this theory, but the countries involved rejected that proposal. Problems arose with Malaysia, Brunei or Vietnam, which on more than one occasion have almost resulted in armed conflicts. The best example is found in Vietnam. The Philippines sued China before the Permanent Court of Justice, in accordance with the UN and its law of the seas, which in the first instance decreed a favourable ruling to the Philippines that Beijing itself did not recognize. This opened a new front of struggle between China and its neighbours. It is also important to highlight the North American strategies with the Philippines, South Korea and especially Japan20, encouraging the latter to alter its Constitution, in addition to the military bases and the presence of one of its ships (ship 7) that controls Okinawa and Japan.
On the other hand, the United States tries to take advantage of the open gap between China and India, the largest force in the region and possibly the only regional power capable of facing the Chinese giant. North America, which in the course of the Cold War showed no inclination toward New Delhi, during the Clinton Administration came to see it as a potential power capable of dealing with Chinese growth. A tactic that grew after the attacks of September 11, to the point of becoming an alliance during the presidency of Obama, as reflected in his words: “India is a natural strategic partner for Washington in the 21st century, and the United States must work with India on many important issues ranging from the fight against terrorism to promoting and guaranteeing peace and stability in Asia.21” India, through the Indian Doctrine22, aims to become the most important maritime power of the Indian Ocean, an extension in the salty waters that the elephant country considers its vital area. A few years ago, its then foreign minister, George Fernandez, made it very clear that his country’s regional interests fluctuated around 11,200 kilometres, that is, from the Australian coasts to the Arabian Gulf. It is, therefore, no surprise that the Indian creation, with US aid, of a military base around the port of Blair, between the Straits of Bengal and Malacca, in response to the Chinese base on the island of Cuco in Burma, which attempts to control trade maritime in the Strait of Malacca23.
The North American government tries to take advantage of the episodes of disagreement between both powers. In addition to the armed conflict of 1961 that ended with the Chinese victory, there were other moments of maximum tension between the two Asian giants, the most important point being the year 2013 when the Chinese forces built a camp ten kilometres from the eastern border of India, to which New Delhi responded by sending its armed forces. A tension that would soon reproduce in 2017, but both countries softened it using diplomacy and the signing of a peace agreement (24-7-2017). We must not forget the association between China and Pakistan that India is so concerned about because Islamabad is a central point in the new Chinese proposal One belt, one road. Despite the many differences that separate them, both powers do not hide their pretensions to dialogue and cooperation and try to postpone their border issues, the nuclear issue and the hegemony over the Sea of Andaman, each watching their interests. Therefore, faced with the turn of events, the two were involved in a process of dialogue, especially in view of the growth of radical armed movements in Kachemira.
This region has facilitated a rapprochement between China and Pakistan that disturbs New Delhi and attempts to cut off Chinese support to Islamabad. Beijing for its part tries to prevent a possible alliance – or rather, a complete strategic vision – between India and Washington. We must point out that both countries form what is known as BRICS, an association created to face the challenges posed by the United States unilateral system. There are many voices that, aware of the risk of maintaining rejection and rivalry, call for dialogue and cooperation. A clear example would be the words of the Chinese philosopher Ho Chinh:
“We must point out that both countries form what is known as BRICS, an association created to face the challenges posed by the United States unilateral system. There are many voices that are aware of the risk of rejection and rivalry, call for dialogue and cooperation. A clear example would be the words of the Chinese philosopher Ho Chinh24”
This series of approaches managed to at least park the differences. However, India tries to put a limit on this policy so as not to bother the Americans, because its strategic objectives are related to those of the White House.
To this maritime siege another terrestrial one is added, to make difficult the Chinese approach to the countries that have the precious black gold, case of Pakistan and especially Burma. The latter is one of the large deposits of raw materials (its reserves exceed 3.2 billion barrels of oil and 8 trillion cubic feet of gas), but at the same time, it suffers from a terrible genocide against the Muslim minority of the Ruhinga. Precisely, the issue of minorities is one of the great challenges that threaten the integrity of China. Beijing receives very strong requests in the region of Sianking (East Turkestan) and Tibet, where 70% of its population are Turkophone Muslims, who have lived there since the first revolts of 1878 (date of the Chinese occupation) demanding their independence. These requests have been growing in recent years, as a result of the policy of ethnic cleansing and expatriation in favor of the implantation of Buddhists, due to the fear of losing such an important area from the geostrategic point of view (it constitutes the step from China to Central Asia and the immense natural resources that host their territories). The demonstrations against the violation to the human rights that exerts China grow, and in the Olympic Games (2008) there were even countries that demanded their non participation (the boycott) as a measure of pressure25. A multitude of military bases surrounding the Asian tiger: in Kyrgyzstan (east of the border, 450 kilometres from the centre of Chinese nuclear tests), Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan or Tajikistan among others. To all these North American manoeuvres Beijing tries to respond with different strategies, the most outstanding is the so-called Pearl Necklace26.
5. China facing the great challenge: the Pearl Necklace
China – or defined more precisely its energy security – remains conditioned, in addition to its geography and the density of maritime traffic, geopolitical factors, the tense relations it maintains with most of the countries in its environment, and above all for the American attempt to take advantage of these circumstances to besiege it. To face these challenges that put their economic leadership to the test, the Chinese have been forced to adopt a series of measures. The truth is that they have been warning about this problem for a long time, and already at Christmas 2003, then President Yo Hu Jinato warned that they would resort to all means to face this threat.
Since then the country of the tiger has undertaken a set of strategies with the aim of getting rid of so many sieges. One of these initiatives, possibly the most important is The Pearl Necklace, a name that is related to the configuration of constructions such as necklaces27. A tactic based on the settlement of the maximum possible number of ports in the Indian Ocean to protect its maritime trade, both its exports and its imports of black oil from the Arabian Peninsula and the African Horn. The Necklace also seeks to face the US proposal, led by the then Secretary General of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, to keep China from further entering into the Western Pacific (Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, and especially Iraq, the gateway to Central Asia and the Arab world) where energy flows under control. It is a question of applying the Doctrine of Containment, that is, that they cannot extend. To contain the Asian giant, the United States has established military bases in Afghanistan, Singapore, in the direction of the Middle East with the presence of its Fifth and Seventh Fleet, in Djibouti (African Horn), without forgetting its base on the island of Diego Garcia. In this sense, the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, from a strategic point of view, were due to this objective of besieging Russia and China, possible candidates to question America’s unilateral policy. But the two military failures exposed the limit of Washington’s economic and military forces, offering a great opportunity for Beijing’s leaders to develop their anti-government strategy.
Since then Beijing, following the principle of maritime defence began to expand and enhance security away from its shores, through settlements in ports and building bases in several strategic points of the Indian Ocean. Following the theory of Alfred Mahan – who controls the Indian Ocean controls Asia – China even expanded beyond the Pacific following its policy of diverting maritime traffic. And possibly in the not too distant future, it will build a canal in Nicaragua (2014) whose length reaches 278 kilometres. A mega structure that will open new commercial routes while decreasing the distance between China and Venezuela, as well as between Shanghai and Baltimore (4,000 kilometres, instead of covering 7,500 by Cape Town). At the same time, its geographical location also allows it to control much of the coasts of the South China Sea. With these new strategies, Beijing is very firm in modifying the international rules of the game. China has gone from a neo-economic vision to a geopolitical one28. From this budget we can understand the initiative to build “The Belt and the Road” (2013) pursued by Beijing, an attempt to revive its ancient Silk Road as well as another maritime route, Professor Xiang Lanxing is conclusive about this:
“The new Silk Roads or the Belt initiative are a path towards a post-Westphalian world in the sense of true neo-economic integration of Eurasia in the 21st century29”.
The Pearl Necklace’s strategy is to establish a series of ports, telecommunications, etc. that extend from the South Asian coast, specifically from the island of Taiwan in the South China Sea, to Djibouti (it even extends to Madagascar) where the North American base of Camp Lemonnier is located, crossing the ports of Bandar Ibn Abbas in the Sea of the Arabs, and Gwadar in Pakistan, in addition to its presence in allied countries (Thailand, Myanmar, Malvinas). Without forgetting the construction of railway lines from Addis Ababa to Djebat, which will make Beijing obtain a great strategic depth in the African continent. We are thus faced with a network of Chinese bases or ports, which will serve as support for its growing naval power. For this reason, China’s investment in a port is often accompanied by the arrival of its Armada, which is growing at an unstoppable rate (132 billion more, with an increase of 12.2%), thus meeting the requirements that Alfred Mahan postulated for the naval powers: development and independence30.
5. 1. Pakistan (Gwadar)
In the new expansionist strategy, this Pakistani port occupies an important place in the project of the Pearl Necklace for the Indian Ocean and the Pacific. It allows China to enjoy a permanent presence in the Sea of Arabs and the Gulf of Oman, as the closest place to the industrial region of Xinjiang. It also enjoys a prominent geostrategic position, located in the South and Center of Asia and the Middle East, besides being the central point in the old Silk Road that linked China with Europe, Asia and Africa. Gwadar is located in Karachi, 120 kilometres from the Iranian border, and 380 kilometres from the Sultanate of Oman, the main intersection of Arab Gulf oil traffic (40% is circulated daily through the Strait of Hormuz). That is to say, that Gwadar constitutes one of the largest reserves of crude oil, and is the port of departure to the hot waters for the countries of Central Asia and the Shenyang31 region, without forgetting its enormous hydro reserves.
China already announced an investment of 4.5 billion dollars for infrastructure, airports, roads, it is expected that the project, which consists of a land belt and another sea, will be ready by 2030, although since 2013 they have already started to settle their Chinese companies, such as the China Overseas Port Holding Company Limited (POPHCL)32.
The projection of Gwadar worries both regional and international forces. In this sense, the Arab Emirates already has two ports, Rached and Yabal Ali, the latter considered to be the largest in the world. From here we understand the financing of Abu Dhabi to the opposition to overthrow the government of Nawaz Charif. The same policy was applied against Morsi, which sought to enlarge the port of Sinai, as well as other projects that would have changed the course of events, not only in Egypt but throughout the region. For this reason, all regional and international forces were involved in achieving its fall (remember the military coup of 2013). The Arab Emirates tries to get closer to India, as reflected in the last visit of the Indian Prime Minister to Abu Dhabi, the first in thirty-seven years. For India, the success of this project also means the success of its rival Pakistan, and above all, it puts an end to the dream of turning the Indian Ocean into its sea. New Delhi, which already has another port 72 kilometres from Gwadar, has activated its agenda in this region of the world. It agreed with Oman to grant it the right of transit through its Gulf for military purposes, in addition to logistical support, according to an agreement with Djibouti to build vital areas in this country of the African Horn, and with the Arab Emirates to carry out military tests, in addition to the pact with France (March 2018) for logistical support. Without forgetting the American attempts to destabilize the region under the pretext of the fight against terrorism (Mujahideen). The perfect excuse to fight the growth of another rival power. On the other hand, the rise of the independence movement in the Baluchistan region will destabilize this project, which until now prevented the construction of gas pipelines. The spokesman for the liberation army of Baluchistan has already made it clear:
“This conspiratorial strategy [the Chinese-Pakistani economic step] is not accepted by the natives in any way. For the independence movement has already repeatedly warned that it will not abandon the future of its people in the name of growth or democracy projects.33”
Therefore, the numerous attacks against Chinese workers and interests in the Pakistani region follow the same line. Sooner or later, Gwadar will open a scenario of a struggle between these countries, with the involvement of other foreign forces such as Russia or Qatar with China and Pakistan.
Its privileged geostrategic location makes it a pole of the transit of the energy that sails through the Indian Ocean, starting from the Arabian Peninsula towards East Asia, in addition to its importance in the trade route that goes from Asia to Europe. A fundamental port that aroused Chinese interest since the end of the last century, to the point of trying, by all means, a settlement, hence its commitment to sign an agreement with the Colombo government. An insistence that grew even more when Chinese President Xi Jinping stressed its importance in his ambitious project for the present century. In 2010 the works of the great technological port were completed, but its economic profitability was not what was expected, even though Beijing projected it in the long term. Even so, it did not avoid criticism from its neighbour India, which is so concerned about Chinese initiatives. According to the former Indian diplomat Achuk Kanta, the port of Hambantota grants a very advantageous military position in the event of a conflict arising in the Indian Ocean34.
At first, the pressures of India paid off. Then the bankruptcy of the Sri Lankan government then headed by Mahinda Rajapaksa, his unpayable debt, turned him into China’s orbit. The new government, faced with the accumulation of the debt, decided (December 2017) to cede the port and the international airport of Matala Rajapaksa to Beijing for a period of 99 years, thus achieving a port logistic centre of utmost importance. As Minister of Ports Manida Samarasinghe pointed out, Sri Lanka could not maintain the payment of debts without obtaining benefits from the port. In addition, the agreement sparked many misgivings in the United States and India35, both are extremely concerned about this settlement that can give China a decisive military naval advantage36.
5. 3. Myanmar (Kyaukpyu: Arakan)
One of the most important pieces of the Pearl Necklace is, without a doubt, the port of Kyaukpyu in Myanmar. Central position in this strategy, if we look at its geopolitical aspect, this port is located in the Rayin region, the only point of connection – rather, exit – from China to the Indian Ocean through the Bay of Bengal. It is a situation very similar to that which Russia maintains with Crimea. Therefore, any instability there would greatly affect Beijing. This presence allows China to settle in the waters of the Indian Ocean, as well as enabling it to move towards the Southern and Central zones. From this strategic need, we can understand the insistence of the Asian tiger to guarantee its vital areas across the Strait of Bengal. Because what it tries is to take advantage of its maritime windows if instability occurs in the China Sea. That is a possible confrontation with Washington, China being a country very rich in oil and natural gas. Let’s not forget that the Chinese company National Petroleum Company put into operation a gas pipeline from the port of Kyaukpyu on the Burmese island of Maday, and another from the same port towards the Yunan gate37. The truth is that Chinese investments in this country, specifically Kyaukpyu, fell from $ 7 billion to $ 1.3 billion.
The great dilemma in this region is undoubtedly the presence of the Muslim minority of Rohingya, subjected to a genocide rarely seen in modern history. China’s support for the Burmese military junta at the United Nations means opening the door to Washington, which is not only going to denounce this crime against humanity, where China is an agent involved. In addition, it will use the jihadists in a manoeuvre similar to what happened in Afghanistan on the night of the Soviet invasion (1979). From there, the conflict will be transferred to the interior of China – the fourth generation war – through the Ugur minority. At the same time, hostilities can increase hatred against China. In fact, the process has already begun. All of these factors allow Myanmar to gain significant geostrategic importance in the short term, due to its geographic location and abundance of natural resources. So much so, that it can be said that it will be fundamental in the Chinese settlement in the Indian Ocean. And likewise, any failure will bring serious geopolitical consequences for China in the event of a war being declared in the Pacific.
5. 4. Yibuti
Djibouti is a small country, with a million inhabitants, but it enjoys a geostrategic position highlighted in the African Horn. It is located at the gates of Bab El Mandab, where daily transits around 20% of global trade. In figures, 700 billion dollars (and let’s not forget that 50% of China’s oil needs come from Sudan, Arabia and Iraq).
In addition, Djibouti is the entry point to the Suez Canal. Fundamental factors that make this bottleneck a fundamental geopolitical agent, whose importance will grow as time progresses. The huge presence of military bases covering its territory (the USA with four thousand, France with three thousand, Italy, Japan, Germany, Iran, Saudi Arabia, etc.) reflects the importance of this country in the diplomatic agendas of both global forces as regional. A leading role that was not too far from the Chinese calculations, not only economic but also strategic.
In 2010 the first attempts of China to settle in that precious place begin, because this small African country is very close to other countries rich in natural resources (Sudan, Ethiopia, Nigeria). That is why it occupies a prominent page in the Chinese road book and explains its growing investments, which have already surpassed Washington and the European Union. Benjamin Matthew makes it stand out:
“Trade between China and Africa has increased from 10 to 115 billion dollars. China’s direct investment has skyrocketed by more than 9 billion dollars since 2003, which then had less than 500 million dollars […] Currently, China is the continent’s largest trading partner38”.
These attempts were first completed with the 2014 Agreement, for which China invested 597 million dollars to build the largest port in the country. And second, with the authorization in 2017 of the Djibouti government for the construction of a military base in the Abuk region, the first outside its great walls and which coincided with the 90th anniversary of the creation of its national army. In addition, China lent the African country 1.4 billion dollars, equivalent to 75% of its GDP, which will go to infrastructure, two international ports and a railway line that links it with Ethiopia. The majority of these constructions will be executed by the Chinese company Merchant Holding. Chinese projects that demonstrate the importance of this country in their political agendas and that, like other programs, have not avoided American criticism. And especially of Abu Dhabi, which showed its anger over a Chinese initiative that will affect the port of Dubai, to the point that forced him to agree on an agreement with Somalia that is not internationally recognized.
5. 5. Thailand (Canal Kra)
For a long time, and despite the denial of the Chinese government on numerous occasions, Beijing does not hide its pretensions to build a canal in the Isthmus of Kra, South of Thailand (a possible port in Kohnata is also speculated). The canal, which will reach a length between 50 and 100 kilometres, will be similar to Panama. Such a Chinese proposal would not only ease the transport burden in the Strait of Malacca, but it would also free the tiger country from the control and threats of countries close to the Strait of Malacca. If it were to be effective, it would exempt China from its geostrategic dilemmas that prevent-or rather threaten-its expansionist processes. This is where the pretensions of Washington come from to promote its relations with the countries that surround the Malacca Canal, to settle militarily in this hot zone of the world. The duration of the works will last five years and the proposed budget is 19.9 billion dollars. The Chinese newspaper Daily announced in March 2014 that two Chinese companies (LIUGONG and XCMA) have already taken the first steps to carry out the said project.
In 2015, the voices increased to conduct a study of the process. The Thai cultural and economic union would liberate the Asian giant stagnation and lower prices for security, as well as freight charges. The ships would save time on their journeys, between one day and three, and would make Bangkok a global freight centre, similar to Suez or other similar points. We are talking about economic benefits, as a result of the taxes of the ships that cross it daily, will generate jobs and attract new investments. At the same time, it will allow China to create free trade zones that will increase its income and, therefore, will encourage the growth of its industrialization and its giant projects to link the continents of the world. Of course, the process will allow China to also settle militarily to face any siege.
During the last years, both countries have been strengthening their relations. In August last year, Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-o-cha and Wang Youg, a senior member of the Chinese State cabinet, agreed to consolidate their economic agreements and further their aspirations within the “Belt and Road” initiative, a program of This step covers three regions of Thailand: Chachoengsao, Chon Buri and Rayong. Its objective is to serve as a push for even bigger projects, including a railway that goes from China to Thailand39.
5. 6. Maldives Island (Feydhoo Finolhu)
Until 2011, China hardly had an official embassy in this Asian archipelago. Now, in his new strategy, everything has changed. The Maldives enjoy privileged geographic conditions, located at the gates of the most important maritime routes of the Indian Ocean, very close to the Gulf of Aden and the Strait of Malacca. Precisely, where the greatest freight of the world maritime transport circulates. Following its strategy to strengthen its presence, the Chinese began to monitor Malé, especially after overthrowing former President Mohamed Nachid (2012), the man of confidence in New Delhi. Possibly we are facing the country most damaged by the presence of China because India has always considered the Maldives as a kind of storage and also as a key piece of his hegemonic attempt in the Indian Ocean. Let us point out that India was the first country to recognize the Maldivian independence of the British (1965) and for decades it has intervened steadily in its foreign affairs. In this regard, Indian journalist Rajaneq Charma points out:
“For India, the increase of the Chinese presence in this archipelago represents a very hard political and strategic blow for the country because it is the backyard of New Delhi40”
In 2014, Chinese President Xi Jinping said that the Maldives was a central country in the new Silk Road of the 21st century. Since then, Chinese investments have not stopped growing, taking advantage of Maldives’ economic weakness: 70% of its GDP comes from tourism, where the Chinese represent 30% of annual visits41. China knows how to use this need for loans, and then settle in those indebted countries, in the case of Pakistan and others that we have been exposing. President Yamin Ali not only nullified any possibility of American settlement. Establishing a military base in its territory, it suspended all agreements regarding infrastructure projects that the previous president had granted to India, and leased the islands of Feydhoo and Finolhu to Beijín for the next fifty years, destining them for tourist purposes (in fact, China’s goals are directed much further). All the infrastructure projects (for example, the international port of Malé) generated strong internal opposition, which means a total surrender to the Asian giant.
Apart from all these strategic ports, Beijing maintains its presence in other parts of the Arabian Gulf, such as the Omani port of Salah that it uses to combat piracy. The attempts of China to settle in Yemen (specifically, the port of Adan), culminated in failure due to the success of the Arab Emirates and its regional and international allies to destabilize the country. The Yemen War represents a confrontation between the great powers with regional elements. It should be remembered that in 2008 Abu Dhabi rented the port for twenty-five years. However, the outbreak of the revolts in Yemen and the popular pressure in 2012 forced the Yemeni government to stop the agreement. A decision that the leaders of the Emirates did not tolerate, who opted for the tactic of inciting the Hutts to overthrow the government, with the approval of their international allies, to prevent any Chinese or even Russian settlement in this region that links the Arabian Sea. With the Red Sea and the Mediterranean.
It is, therefore, a maritime passage of great importance, which motivated China to establish itself in Djibouti, as we have already highlighted. And forced Abu Dhabi to settle militarily and economically in the countries that surround this region. To this is added the Chinese presence on the East African coast (Madagascar, Cape Verde, Tanzania, etc.).
Let us finally point out that China, in addition to this Pearl Necklace strategy, is also inclined to make renewable energies effective (approved by the Chinese parliament in February 2008), such as natural gas, nuclear energy, and even the seasons are foreseen Electricity will cover 20% of the territory by 2025, in addition to vegetable oils and other energies.
The sea routes that transit from the African Horn to the Strait of Malacca is not only of utmost importance for Beijing, they also begin to be a source of concern for the international community. As time goes by, the attempts to surround China and especially the discoveries of huge reserves of energy resources in its seas have turned a region – characterized by instability – into one of the main focuses of international struggles. In any case, this imbalance does not represent a threat to a global system that is experiencing a period of transition. This is what Graham Alison defines as the “Thucydides Trap” when new rising powers question the power of existing ones. Without going too far, the experience of Japan and Germany during the interwar period would represent a paradigmatic case.
It is, therefore, to some extent logical and normal, that the territories generate conflicts and tensions. We check it every day in many parts of the world, for example from Yemen. Similar to the seismic movements that emerge to the surface as a result of a series of uncontainable forces that are generated in the bowels of the earth, today we are witnessing serial corrections, a succession of attempts to settle the balance of geopolitical forces in all the planet. The world is destined to undergo great transformations during the next decade. Without wanting to dwell much in the past, throughout history has been the norm the distribution of powers, except after a conflict. Fortunately, today the parties involved striving not to provoke direct battles. China remains in the budget to create a Balance Power and thus recover its prominent place among the great powers, a role that corresponds-as other peoples-for history and civilization. Therefore, it is not willing to endure another humiliation, as happened after the wars of opium against the British Empire. So far, he has not been involved in direct conflicts, and simply tries to show his geographical environment his political rise, playing the role of a greater neighbour. But behind that paternalistic image other objectives are hidden, and its credit policy is only the first step to strengthen its hegemony in the region. We do not ignore that the economic power is the main motor that moves the politics of the nations and their attitude towards the outside, so much at the regional level as global. If we look at what history teaches us, an economic force like China, with its high growth rates, will sooner or later force the country to guarantee its interests beyond its borders. And when that happens, the first thing that is put into practice is to strengthen the war machine. China bases its strategy on the hypothesis of Sun Zi, who maintained that confrontations are won or lost before the moment of combat. And the Chinese leaders are fulfilling this rule to the letter. Since the beginning of the current millennium, they are preparing the ground, knowing that their unstoppable growth will demand inexcusable energy, of which almost 80% goes through that bottleneck called Malaca. A country that inevitably depends on the exterior, especially of the Arab Gulf countries, a link that will increase in the coming years.
These expansionist efforts in China provoke the anger and discontent of its neighbours, as well as the United States. Washington tries to besiege – or more precisely, contain – that economic force that with Russia is trying to create a global reserve currency that counteracts the unilaterality of the dollar and becomes an alternative to the neoliberal model dictated by the IMF. Precisely, this may be the moment of a change to a global scale. For now, Washington continues to some extent maintaining control, but the balance of world power will not last long. Not only because of the constant Chinese challenge. There are many other countries, which are either very upset or have suffered in a short space of time the American one-sidedness. And diversity is a basic rule to achieve global stability. It will, therefore, be very complicated for the modern international system to be organized in accordance with the model of Anglo-Saxon instability that has prevailed since the fall of the Berlin Wall.
There, in Malacca, the situation is very delicate. So much so, that the salty waters that connect the North of the Indian Ocean with the Pacific region of Asia resemble a gigantic volcano, at risk of erupting at any moment, due to the high degree of temperature implied by the influx of so many conflicting interests. The economic war waged by Washington against Beijing is only the beginning of others in different fields, especially the strategic and especially the technological one after China released its 2025 project to become the first power in this sector, possibly the greater dominion granted to Washington from half-full of the last century. The forecast is that tensions will increase even more during the next decade, although it is true that at the moment there is no unbridled arms race and there is an economic interdependence between the two. However, this relationship of convenience generates a series of disturbing questions: to what extent can China raise its challenge to Washington, when will it tire of playing the role of besieged country, what are the questions that continue to arouse the relationship between Beijing and Moscow. And finally, the fundamental question: will the Strait of Malacca be the new scenario of the struggle between maritime and terrestrial forces?
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1 Cfr. YERGUN, D.: “Ensuring Energy Security”. Foreign Affaires, 2 (2006), p. 79.
2 Ibídem, p. 69.
3 Vid. NEMETH, E.: Cultural Security: evaluanting the power of culture in international affaires. London: Imperial College Press, 2015.
4 Extracted from international hydrographic organization: Limits of oceans and seas. 1953, p. 23. Avaible from the internet: http://epic.awi.de/29772/1/ho1953.a.pdf.
5 BP World Energy Outlook 2009. “Implication of Current energy policies”. International Energy Agency, p. 118.
6 Ibídem. avaible from the internet: http://www.bp.com/en/global/corporete/about-bp/energy-economics/energy.outlook/country-and-regional.insights/china-insight-htm.
7 Cfrs. ZHANG, X.: “Southent Asia and Energy: Getway to Stability china security”. China Security, III, 2 (spring, 2007), p. 18.
8 NIAZI, T.: “The ecology of strategic interests: china’s quest for energy security from the Indian Ocean to the Caspian sea basin”. The China and Eurasia Forum quarterly: Volume 4, N4, (November 2006, p.107)
9 Cfrs, LIN, J.: “China’s energy security dilemma”. Project Institute 2049, (February, 2012), p. 3. Avaible from the internet: http://project2049.net/2012/02/13/chinas-energy-security-dilemma.
10 Cfr. TAN, L.E.: “Al-Sirae al-Suri ghayara al-Siyassa al-jaregia al-Siniyya” [The Syrian conflict changed china’s external stance]. Bussines Times, 10/3/2012.
11 YANG, Y.: “Chine’s new inteligente” Buy Issue, (March, 2002). Avaible from the internet: http://www.prospectmagazine.com.vir/article/tecle.php?10078.
12 Vid. KENAN, G.: “The sources of soviet conduct”. Foreign Affairs, 25(July 1947), pp. 566-582.
13 Cfr. KAGAN, R.: “The ilusion of managing China”. Washington Post, 15/5/2005.
14 In his work Road to War, Graham Alison (New York: Marine Books, 2017) mentions seventeen cases during the last centuries where upward forces were faced against current forces that ended in bloodshed and slaughter: for example, Great Britain and Germany, which was the key reason for the first World, or Japan’s against the United States.
15 Vid. HALINAN, C.: “Dangerous sears China and The USA”. Avaible from the internet:http://www.counterpunch.org/19/8/2016.dangerous-seas-china-and-the.org.
16 Avaible from BOUZID, A.: Al-Hayyate, 28/10/2001.
17 Cfr. SPAYKMAN, N.: America’s strategy in world politics the united status and the balance of power. New York: Routledge, 2007, p. 182.
18 Vid. MAHAN, A.: The Influence of Sea Power upon History: 1600-1783. New York: Dover Publications, 1987.
19 Pronounced rally in Singapore 2/6/2012.
20 Japan and China maintain a fight for the islands of Sinakoko, whose origin goes back to the Treaty of San Francisco (1951) that ended the war in Asia. According to the Canadian researcher Kimi Hara, the law of the islands and the sea beds in conflict in the China Sea was drawn, both East and West, but that ambiguity was the one that lit the fuse of conflicts in the region and allowed turn to Washington to weaken his possible enemies.
21 Avaible the AL-SAYYED, S. M.: “Al-qadaya al-istratiyyia al-achr al-Kubra Fe Yanub Asia [The ten important strategic issues in South Asia]”. Al-Siyyassa al-Dawlia, 177(june 2009), p. 79.
22 This doctrine that marked the Indian policy during the Cold War was modified after the coming to power of the United Front, also known as Gujaral Doctrine (of the then Foreign Minister and prime Minister of the country between 1997 and 1998), which demanded the transformation of a hegemonic doctrine for another where the dialogue with the neighbors was its central motto. This prosposal that launched Gujaral went down in history once the right-wing coalition returned to power, under the leadership of the Mahartia Janatta party.
23 Cfr. RAMATAMU, M.: “India bids to rule the weaves from the bay of bengal to the Malacca Straits”. Japan Focus, (March, 2007). Avaible from the AL-SAYYED, S, M.: ““Al-qadaya al-istratiyyia al-achr al-Kubra Fe Yanub Asia [The ten important strategic issues in South Asia]” ar…af, p. 79.
24 Avaible from the Internet: http://www.brookings.edu/blog/order-from-chaos/2017/1013.
25 In 1955, The CIA formed a countterrevolutionary army in Tibet, where it built many military bases around China to train these fighters, including American aviation made seventy raids on the region to supply arms and materials to the rebels. The American writer Michael Barent Himslef, based on documents that Washington brought to light in 1998, noted that annual donations to those rebels during the 1960 reached 17 million $ por year. And as is customary in the White house, once the approach between Kissinger and the Chinese leaders took place, North America raised its support on these movements.
26 At the end of the 1990 s, a report by the US Southern Command warned about the Chinese pretensions of putting this strategy into practice. However, it was with the Energy Futures in Asia study conducted by Booz Allen Hamilton, when the metaphorical term began to acquire resonance. (Vid. DOMINGUEZ, R, F.: “China: from the belt strategy to that of the Pearl Necklace”. Spanish Institute of strategic Studies. (January, 2017), p. 2.
27 Vid. CHRISTOPHER, J. P.: “Strings of pearts meeting the challenge of Chine’s rising power across”. The Asian litoral report of the strategic studies institutes, (July, 2006), p. 3.
28 Cfr. DIJANG, X.: “La presencia militar y estratégica china en Oriente Medio [The military and strategic Chinese presence in the Middle East]. Conference given at the Doha congress (Qtar). The Arab World China, 22-23/5/2016. Avaible from the Internet:http://www.dohainstitute.org/event/89abc-25/3c0c-47.com.
29 Avaible from the: ESCOBAR, P.: “Todo bajo el cielo: el desafío chino al sistema de Westfalia”. http://www.elspiadigital.com/index.php/noticias/geoestrategia/23882.
30 Vid. HOLMES, J. R.; YOSHIHABA, T.: Chine’s naval strategy in the 21 century the turn to mahan. New York: Routlge Series, 2008.
31 Vid. KAPLAN, R.: “Pakistan’s Fatal Shore”, Atlantic, (Mai, 2009), pp. 70-76.
32 Vid. “Gwadar Port handed over China”. The Express Tribune, 18/2/2013.
33 Avaible from the Internet: http://alwasatnews.com/news/.
34 Avaible from the Internet: http://aawsat.com/home/article/9990941 (Charq al-Awsate: 5/8/2017).
35 Tha USA and Japan have already strengthened their ties with Sri Lanka. Washington allocated an aid to Colombo of 39 million dollars for its defense, while Japan sent two patrol vessels. The ultimate goal of all is to hold china in the region (Vid. “The role of Sri Lanka to contain China”. Daily Mail: Avaible from the Internet: http://www.mundo.spuntiknews.com/asia/201808231081411053-papel-sri-Lanka-para-contener-china/.
36 “Sri Lanka completes controversial 1 billon port deal with china”. Daily Mail, 29/7/2017. Avaible from the Internet: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/wires/afp/article-4741880/.
37 “With Oil and Gas Pipelines, China Takes a Shortcut Through Myanmar”. Forbes, 9/2/2015. Avaible from the Internet: http://www.forbes.com/sites/cricrmeseyer/2015/2/9/oil-and-gas-china-takes-a-chortcut#781014t2d40.
38 MATTHEW, B.: “Sub-Saharan Africa: Will it regain its economic footing?” Sage Busines Reseacher, 7/6/2017. Avaible from the Internet:// http://www.allafricaa.com/stories/201710060494.html.
39 Xinhua, 22/8/2018.
40 GRABITI, G.: “Preocupaciones de la India de la evolución china de los collares de perlas”. Avaible from the Internet: http//www.awsat.com/home/article/11293961.
41 Cfr. Ministry of Tourism Republic of Maldives: Tourism Yearbook 2014. Avaible from the Internet:http://tourism.gov.mv/downloads2014dec/tourism%20year%20book%202014.pdf.