CCP Global Infrastructure Acquisition Alarms Experts

With Chinese media firms designated as “foreign missions” in the United States, and the CCP-propaganda touting Confucius Institutes being shut down in succession, it seems the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) vehicles of export for their communist ideology are suffering some setbacks. Not to be deterred, the CCP moved to recently acquire nearly 100 strategically positioned ports around the globe in recent years. The objective seems to be controlling the machinery that makes the global movement of goods and international trade possible. That would include control of ports, port logistics, and fleets of marine transport vessels that weave it all together.

To date, the CCP has opted for the “soft power” of state-controlled businesses instead of military aggression to expand its influence worldwide. Its most recent endeavor utilizes the China Ocean Shipping Co. (COSCO) and others to do their bidding. Altogether, the CCP-controlled businesses have acquired a stake in 96 ports around the world, five of them in the United States—including Miami, Houston, Long Beach, Los Angeles, and Seattle.

In Germany, China Logistics Group acquired a 99-year lease to build a logistics center in the new Wilhelmshaven commercial port. The port is coincidentally 3 miles from Germany’s largest naval and logistical base, Heppenser Groden. Heppenser Groden is where Germany builds and maintains its marine corps ships, docks its submarines, and conducts joint exercises with NATO.

After having strategically acquired these 96 ports worldwide, China’s Communist Party leaders have their sights set on the iconic and historic Container Terminal Tollerort in Hamburg, Germany, positioning itself to acquire a 35 percent controlling share in the port’s operations.

“It’s true that the Container Port Tollerort is only a small part of the entire port of Hamburg, yet through this part, China can influence the trade and the political direction of Hamburg port,” said German economics Minister Robert Habeck.

Jan Ninnemann, a logistics professor at the Hamburg School of Business Administration, told Newsweek, “There is a high strategic dimension to taking a stake in a terminal,” such as having a say over which ships come and go, when cargo is loaded and unloaded, and where it goes.

Norbert Röttgen, former Chair of the Bundestag Foreign Affairs Committee, told reporters, “This is a power play being sought and developed. In the event of a conflict, this power will be utilized [by China].”

Maritime specialist Isaac B. Kardon is a Chinese linguist at the U.S. Naval War College on Rhode Island. He cautions similarly, explaining China’s numerous port acquisitions create “strategic strongpoints,” where different kinds of power flow together, creating leverage.

Let’s take a look at the big picture: According to Clarksons Research, foreign trade is transacted via the global transport of goods. Of the various forms of transport, maritime shipping is the most meaningful to China. Shipping is fundamental to the global economy, as more than 85 percent of all goods are transported by sea via international trade.

With the Chinese acquisition of the world’s key global port infrastructure, analysts are raising data security concerns, given that port and logistics operators handle large amounts of corporate, transport, and personal data in an increasingly digitized supply chain. According to Newsweek, what’s to stop the CCP from installing China-made internet communications for direct access to local data including government administration networks?

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