China becoming concern for U.S. commanders in Europe
by Jm Garamone, DoD News
It seems counter-intuitive, but China is increasingly a concern for the commander of U.S. Naval Forces in Europe and Africa and NATO’s Allied Joint Force Command.
Adm. James G. Foggo told the participants of a webinar sponsored by the International Institute of Strategic Studies that China is actively working in Europe and Africa to subvert the international rules-based infrastructure that has maintained peace since the end of World War II.
China’s whole-of-government approach has expanded out of the Indo-Pacific into the Arctic, Europe and Africa. In this region China is conducting unsafe intercepts of aircraft and ships, he said. It’s threatening nations. China has established an overseas military base in the Horn of Africa, and is looking to control other ports.
China is “purchasing news outlets and entertainment companies to push its propaganda and erase any criticism against its government,” he said. Chinese leaders are meddling in elections across the world, “restricting information about the coronavirus and donating equipment and personnel, even in Europe as a way to show that it’s a world leader.”
The Chinese One Belt, One Road initiative combines economic, diplomatic, military and political arms to change the international rules-based architecture. They are offering financial relief and opportunities to nations, especially in Africa, and then using that to influence the governments.
“This type of influence is a security concern, and it could be used to restrict access to key seaports and airport facilities while providing access to sensitive government and military information through the technology of state-owned and state-controlled enterprises,” he said.
In the past decade a lot has changed. Ten years ago, it was possible for U.S. officials to envision working with China and Russia.
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