How Deep are China’s Investments in the Carribbean?

English: Map of the Caribbean by the CIA World...

Map of the Caribbean from the CIA World Factbook (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

China’s Rising Investment Profile in the Caribbean:
Richard L. Bernal
Inter American Dialogue Economics Brief
October 2013

While we hear a lot about China’s focus on Latin America, especially Peru, Chile, Venezuela, and Cuba, you don’t read quite as much about China’s efforts in the Caribbean Basin at large. that is starting to change.

In this paper, Richard Bernal, former Jamaican ambassador to the United States and a permanent representative to the Organization of American States, is largely symathetic to China. He notes that investing in small island republics is probably not as attractive to China as plays on the Latin American Mainland, and statistics back him up. Chinese mining companies have already pledged over $7 billion in direct investment to Per, but total investment in the 13 nations in the Caribbean, including Cuba, has been a comparatively paltry $2.6 billion since 2003.

Bernal admonishes regional leaders that they must work harder to make their countries more attractive to Chinese investment. He’s right, of course, but one wonders whether state leaders in the Caribbean all share Bernal’s implicit optimism about the upside of Chinese FDI.

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Hardball on the Water

“How the U.S. Should Respond to the Chinese Naval Challenge,” Dean Cheng’s policy brief for the Heritage Foundation, offers few original policy recommendations, (“fully fund the Navy’s shipbuilding program, invest in strong R&D, strengthen ties with allies, and uninvite China to RIMPAC“) and does not even begin to address the fiscal or diplomatic impacts of the ideas it offers. It does, however, present a clear case for playing a game in the region that the Chinese will understand – and respect. The soft approach won’t work with China, Cheng asserts. Time to play hardball. Tell that to the crew of the USS Cowpens – they’ll say that’s exactly what they’re doing.

SSQ: Can We Get Along?

Strategic Studies Quarterly, volume 7, number 4. The Air Force is, unsurprisingly, increasingly fascinated with China, and we reap the benefits again in the Winter 2013 installment of the journal. The lead article asks whether China and the US are looking at an inevitable conflict, or greater cooperation. An op/ed by a retired Air Force lieutenant general delves into whether and how China can join the world’s nuclear arms control regime. Finally, the University of Michigan’s Philip Potter delves into the roots of terrorism in China, and how it is changing China’s approach to security.

Asia and Disease

In The Global Burden of Disease: Generating Evidence, Guiding Policy—East Asia and Pacific Regional Edition, the World Bank and the Institute for Health Metrics and Examination summarize differences in diseases, injuries, and risk factors for the East Asia and Pacific region and summarizes intraregional differences in diseases, injuries, and risk factors. Unsurprisingly, some countries do a better job than others.

Africa Three-Way

A Trilateral Dialogue on the United States, Africa and China is the proceedings of a private conference organized in Beijing by the Africa Growth Initiative and the John L. Thornton China Center at Brookings, with the Institute for Statistical, Social and Economic Research at the University of Ghana and the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. The question was whether there was room for cooperation between the three sides to address Africa’s challenges. The conference identified common interests. Will that be enough to drive cooperation?

China’s Military Build-Up

If you haven’t come across Breakout, Reuters’ series on China’s evolving defense posture, treat yourself – it will be worth your time. The series – which will ultimately reach eight parts in total – is not a primer as much as it is a focus on eight different aspects of China’s rise, sort of like a Robert Kaplan book. My favorite piece so far, “The Chinese Navy Dismembers Japan,” focuses on Maneuver 5, a large-scale exercise involving much of the PLAN designed to simulate a showdown between the PLAN and the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force.