China’s ever-tightening relations with Pakistan and the other countries involved in its One Belt, One Road project could go to an even deeper level soon. The U.S. Department of Defense believes China will build military bases in Pakistan and other countries to protect its One Belt, One Road initiative. The DoD also believes Chinese authorities are covertly stealing military technologies from other countries.
Pentagon predicts military bases in Pakistan, other countries
The Pentagon made the prediction in its annual report to Congress about China’s military efforts. The DoD wrote that the Asian superpower will “probably” send its military overseas due to a “perceived need to provide security” for One Belt, One Road projects. The agency also predicts that China will set up military bases in Pakistan and other “countries with which it has a longstanding friendly relationship and similar strategic interests… and in which there is a precedent for hosting foreign militaries.”
However, the DoD also said Beijing’s effort to set up these military bases could be restricted in countries which are wary about allowing the People’s Liberation Army to set up a presence there full time. The agency suggested possible target locations in the Middle East, the western Pacific and Southeast Asia.
According to The Guardian, the Pentagon also warned about growing Chinese activity in the Arctic, which analysts believe could be just the beginning of a major strengthening of the nation’s military. The U.S. isn’t the only nation worried about China’s ambitions in the Arctic region. Denmark has spoken out about Beijing’s Greenland interest, which includes plans for research and satellite stations, airport renovations and expanded mining operations.
China has one known military base so far
There have long been concerns about the military outposts China has established in the disputed South China Sea. The U.S. and several other nations have been concerned about Chinese militarization in the sea for the purpose of controlling maritime interests in an area claimed by multiple nations.
At this point China has only one official foreign military base located in Djibouti. According to The Express Tribune, last year there were said to be discussions about a Chinese base being established in northwestern Afghanistan along the Wakhan Corridor. The Washington Post also reported recently that a base in eastern Tajikistan was hosting a large number of Chinese troops close to the Wakhan Corridor at a key junction.
The Express Tribune also reports that Chinese President Xi Jinping’s ambitions go beyond locating military might in other countries. The news outlet said his plans include strengthening Chinese influence in “international institutions, acquiring top-flight technology and establishing a strong economic presence worldwide.” Ambitions also reportedly include expanding the Chinese military presence even into space.
China also accused of stealing military technologies
Despite the claim about China possibly establishing military bases in Pakistan and other countries to protect its One Belt, One Road initiative, the Tribune also reports that Beijing has noticed that many countries it is working with on the project are growing suspicious about its ambitions. As a result, Chinese leaders have reportedly toned down their rhetoric a bit.
However, the Pentagon report also claimed that Chinese officialsv are covertly stealing military technologies from other countries for the purpose of “leapfrogging” the development phase for large weapons systems, ABC News adds.
Among the strategies Beijing is supposedly using is influencing operations against people or businesses. The report also suggests China is using “targeted foreign direct investment, cyber theft, and exploitation of private Chinese nationals’ access to these technologies, as well as harnessing its intelligence services, computer intrusions and other illicit approaches.”
The Pentagon report also warns that China’s covert acquisition of military technologies from other countries could “degrade core U.S. operational and technological advances” in the region.