During his trip to the Indo-Pacific region, US Defense Secretary Mark Esper said he saw how China’s “One Belt, One Road” initiative is manifesting itself throughout the region.
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US: Chinese political, economic ties eroding sovereignty of nations
Pia Lee-Brago (The Philippine Star) - September 11, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The political and economic leverage that China has on several nations has virtually begun to “erode” their sovereignty, the United States defense secretary said.

During his trip to the Indo-Pacific region, US Defense Secretary Mark Esper said he saw how China’s “One Belt, One Road” initiative is manifesting itself throughout the region.

“The more dependent a country becomes on Chinese investment and trade, the more susceptible they are to coercion and retribution when they act outside of Beijing’s wishes,” the Pentagon chief recently said at London’s Royal United Services Institute.

The Belt and Road Initiative is a global development strategy adopted by the Chinese government involving infrastructure development and investments in 152 countries and international organizations in several continents.

The BRI, seen as the center of China’s economic diplomacy, includes helping countries build infrastructure and facilities.

Esper also warned of the Chinese economic power and Russian aggression and their threats to global security.

“(We) cannot stand idly by while authoritarian nations attempt to reshape the global security environment to their favor at the expense of others,” Esper said.

He said this influence ultimately trickles down to the security arena, and leads countries to make sub-optimal defense decisions in fear of upsetting the Chinese Communist Party and being punished through economic measures or political backlash.

The defense chief added that China has stolen technology to push forward military gains. 

“Indeed, every Chinese company has the potential to be an accomplice in Beijing’s state-sponsored theft of other nations’ military and civilian technology,” he added.

Esper said Chinese companies also pose a risk to the secure and resilient telecommunications infrastructure on which US allies and partners depend for interoperability, intelligence sharing and mobilization.

ONE ROAD CHINA ONE BELT
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