Magazine article Insight on the News

U.S. Turns a Blind Eye as China Hits the Beach

Magazine article Insight on the News

U.S. Turns a Blind Eye as China Hits the Beach

Article excerpt

It was bad enough when citizens recently learned that the Marine Corps would have to step aside so that the former U.S.. Navy base at Long Beach could be leased to the China Ocean Shipping Company, or Cosco. Then the Washington Times reported that another Chinese firm closely associated with Cosco, Hutchison Whampoa Ltd., has been awarded control of two ports that sit astride the Panama Canal.

These deals represent the crossing of two unsettling trends. One is the economic growth of China: Beijing's $40 billion trade surplus with the United States, which is used to fund China's military expansion, is the fodder of policy wonks. The advance of China's red flag into California and Panama, however, is something the average citizen cannot miss.

The second trend is the downsizing of America's position in the world, as demonstrated by base closings and the withdrawal from areas such as the Panama Canal. The Clinton administration has pushed deep defense cuts and military withdrawals, claiming the country no longer can afford to maintain the strength it possessed only a few years ago. Yet, Clinton thinks we can afford to transfer billions in trade deficits, investments and technology to the communist regime in China to build up its power.

Cosco is not a private enterprise. It is an arm of the Chinese government and an auxiliary to the People's Liberation Army (see "PLA Espionage Means Business," March 24). When Polytechnologies, the division of the PLA's general staff department which handles gun-running operations, tried to smuggle 2,000 AK-47 fully-automatic assault rifles into Los Angeles for sale to street gangs, Cosco naturally was chosen as the shipping line to deliver the goods.

Shipbuilding and shipping long have been designated as a strategic industry in China. Major powers always have backed their maritime industries for more than just economic reasons. One must assume Cosco and Hutchison, as government agents, will carry out whatever policies are decided upon by the communist Beijing regime.

Chinese control of a 135-acre terminal in Long Beach would pose a number of security threats to the United States. The terminal obviously would become a center for Chinese espionage on the West Coast. And it also would give the Chinese a stable, high-powered listening post for the interception of communications throughout California and beyond.

The Chinese would know every move the U.S. military makes and could monitor training exercises as well as operational deployments. Beijing also could develop ways to interrupt, neutralize or mislead the command, control and communications networks upon which our military operations depend. …

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