Thursday, May 23, 2013

China's influence spreads to Atlantic

Asia Times

A specter has been haunting the Western Hemisphere since mid-summer 2012, the specter of China's People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) routinely patrolling the waters of the Atlantic Ocean.

At first sight, it might seem that Beijing is truly laying the groundwork for its foothold in the Atlantic Rim. Not least, Chinese government signed a free-trade agreement with Iceland in April and PLAN vessels recently made a month-long trip in the Mediterranean Sea and Eastern Atlantic. Even so, China's strategic projection in the Atlantic is still far from becoming reality.

The whole psychodrama unfolded at the end of June 2012, when

then Chinese premier Wen Jiabao made a stopover on the Portuguese island of Terceira, in the Azores, after a four-nation visit to South America. The Azores are placed right in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean between Europe and the United States. Wen's blitz there fueled speculation that China had thrown an eye on Lajes Field, the local military air base jointly managed by Portugal and the United States.
Read it all here.

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