Washington is growing concerned with China’s growing influence in Latin America, following two decades in which China built its economic ties.
China’s accelerating world influence has moved China from a burgeoning threat to a considerable threat, warranting increased monitoring from lawmakers and defense officials.
China has quietly been expanding its influence in the Southern hemisphere, with Florida Republican Rep. Maria Elvira Salazar drawing attention to the growing security threats emerging from Latin America.
Salazar shared with lawmakers how Latin American nations like Argentina, Bolivia, and Venezuela were allowing China to gain a military foothold in the region.
The Florida Republican explained that Chinese President Xi Jinping had traveled to Latin America “more times than President Obama, Trump, and Biden combined” over the last decade.
Salazar asserted that the Chinese weren’t getting into Latin America’s good graces “for trade. They’re here for war.”
The Republican Congresswoman also shared that China had sold military equipment and arms in the region, with that goodwill being reciprocated by Argentina, which is considering opening a factory to build Chinese fighter jets.
Salazar then went on to share her concerns about a Deep Space Station that she described as being the size of “400 football fields” in the middle of Argentina’s Patagonia desert, noting it was a security concern.
Salazar explained that the Chinese could be “very interested in studying the stars and every constellation,” referring to the Deep Space Station, but highlighted the Argentinians wouldn’t know what is going on in the station “because the Chinese don’t let them in.”
The Florida Congresswoman also suggested that the program could also explain the recent Chinese balloon activity.
However, the Argentinian ambassador scoffed at the idea that there was anything sinister happening at the Space Station, explaining that they had visited the site before and it was similar to other agreements the nation had with the European Space Agency.