"China’s Port Power" - by CWP alums Isaac Kardon and Wendy Leutert

May 22, 2023

Over the past several years, U.S. national security officials have been intensely focused on China’s growing military power. Having not faced such a powerful challenger since the collapse of the Soviet Union, Washington now describes Beijing, as the U.S. Annual Threat Assessment put it in February, as a “near-peer competitor.” For the U.S. military, China has also become the “pacing challenge”, the benchmark for just how fast and how far it must adjust to provide effective defense in a more competitive international system.

Yet U.S. defense strategy appears poorly calibrated to the central challenges that China poses. The breakneck modernization of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), showcased in its impressive blue-water navy and increasingly lethal rocket forces, obscures another, equally important foundation of China’s global power projection: its economic position. Not only is China the largest trading partner of many countries, it also now provides much of the critical infrastructure that enables international trade. This controlling influence is especially pronounced in maritime transportation, in which Chinese firms with close links to Beijing have become leaders in financing, designing, building, operating, and owning port terminals across the globe.

China’s Port Power The Maritime Network Sustaining Beijing’s Global Military Reach

By Isaac Kardon and Wendy Leutert - May 22, 2023 - https://www.foreignaffairs.com/united-states/chinas-port-power

Photo Credit: https://pixabay.com/users/smartschwarz-17278601/

Isaac Kardon
Wendy Leutert