China Spreading its Military Influence into the Americas

China is expanding its military engagement in Latin America, according to Gen. Douglas Fraser, head of US Southern Command. Chinese arms sales to militaries in the region “have more than quadrupled in the past five years,” he told the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday. The frequency of high-level Chinese military visits has also increased substantially, said Fraser. He noted that 18 nations in the Caribbean, Central America, and South America receive Chinese military training. Last September, he continued, the Chinese hospital ship Peace Ark made its first-ever humanitarian visit to the Western Hemisphere, visiting Cuba, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, and Costa Rica, providing bilateral medical exchanges and assistance in each port visit. “This type of endeavor is consistent with China’s declared intent to expand diplomatic, economic, and military relations in the region,” Fraser told the lawmakers. (Fraser’s prepared testimony)