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Europe Continues To Welcome Chinese Investment In Its Ports - Report

Infra News - Published on Tue, 25 Jun 2019

Image Source: South China Morning Post
South China Morning Post reported that the United States is becoming increasingly obsessed with Chinese activities in commercial seaports of allied countries because of the risk they would pose to its navy. Nonetheless, calls for European allies to avoid backing China’s global maritime ambitions and the Belt and Road Initiative continue to fall on deaf ears. At last week’s Transport Logistic fair in Munich, the Italian port of Genoa signed a cooperation agreement with the Chinese port of Shenzhen, the world’s fourth-largest container facility.

Together, China’s Cosco Shipping Ports and Qingdao Port International Development have a 49.9 per cent stake in two terminals in Genoa. Other European operators are also engaging with Chinese counterparts.

Europe’s progressive integration into the belt and road plan, which is aimed at reviving the ancient Silk Road and creating a China-centric network of trade relationships across Eurasia and beyond, has alarmed the administration of US President Mr Donald Trump.

In its annual report to Congress on China’s military power, released, the US Department of Defence said the belt and road investments could help the Chinese navy gain access to “selected foreign ports to pre-position the necessary logistics support to sustain naval deployments in waters as distant as the Indian Ocean, Mediterranean Sea and Atlantic Ocean”.

To US strategists, China is seeking control of overseas infrastructure to project and support naval power at greater distances. The Chinese could achieve such a goal by gaining preferred access to foreign commercial ports through belt and road projects, as well as through some exclusive logistics facilities.

China opened its first and, until now, only overseas military base in Djibouti two years ago. The tiny country in the Horn of Africa also hosts a US naval facility.

According to the Pentagon, the Chinese could establish a second naval outpost near the Pakistani commercial port of Gwadar, which is being operated by China Overseas Ports Holding Company. The Trump administration sounded the alarm on Chinese-managed European ports as Italy became the first of the Group of Seven nations to sign up for the Belt and Road Initiative in March, and the Italian ports of Genoa and Trieste signed cooperation agreements with state-owned China Communications Construction Company.

However, Nato allies in Europe appear unwilling to block Chinese investment in their port facilities. The Dutch port of Rotterdam where Cosco has a 35 per cent stake in a terminal recently signed a declaration of intent with Chengdu International Railway Port Investment to improve connectivity between Europe and China.

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Posted By : Ratan Singh on Tue, 25 Jun 2019
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