China has entered into a mutual security pact with the Solomon Islands in the Pacific. It is seeking to do the same with other island nations in the area as well. If the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) succeeds in establishing a foothold in the south pacific, it could control shipping and trade in the region.
If the CCP can control the region effectively, it can hamper the United States’ ability to project power in the region. Furthermore, the military ramifications aside, China could massively impact an already fragile supply chain. Both scenarios have potentially dangerous consequences for the United States interests.
The theory behind engagement with China was always that as they began to prosper economically, they would begin to act more like a western democracy and abandon their traditional imperial tendencies. This theory has not only proven to be false, but it has also created a military and economic peer that becomes more belligerent by the day. China is not seeking trading partners. It is seeking subjects.
The Belt Road initiative is an example of the CCP’s predatory nature. By using its wealth to provide high-risk loans to countries for infrastructure projects, China gains a strategic position when the host country defaults. Sri Lanka had to give China one of its ports, a huge strategic gain for China because it could not meet its obligations. China’s only concern is growing its power so it can eventually engage the United States in a direct confrontation.
The Solomon Islands security pact and the Belt Road initiative are particularly alarming when taken together with China’s military buildup. China currently has the largest navy in the world. It has a standing army of 2.8 million people, also the largest in the world.
It has built these armaments up in the face of countries that have only sought peaceful economic trade and who have gone out of their way to accommodate the CCP. No nation has exhibited a desire to confront China. By the looks of the CCP’s actions, the Western powers will not have a choice soon. By the looks of it, China is going to force the issue.