A decade ago, Chinese President Xi Jinping launched the Maritime Silk Road, the oceanic component of his flagship Belt and Road Initiative aimed at improving China’s access to world markets by investing in transportation infrastructure. The initiative’s investments have since slowed as Chinese growth falters, the United States pushes back and countries question the indebtedness the projects brought.
The expansion is critical to China’s economic power and has significant military implications as well, analysts say. “This is not coincidental,” said Carol Evans, director of the Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College. “I firmly believe there is a strategic aspect to the particular ports they’re targeting for investment.”
Background photo credit: A dockworker passes by a container ship at the Chinese-operated port of Djibouti in 2015. (Carl de Souza/AFP/Getty Images), from the article https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/interactive/2023/china-ports-trade-military-navy/