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China’s Dangerous Secrets

Whereas Russia launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine, China prefers an incremental approach, enabled by stealth and deception, to advance its revisionist agenda. And, barring a major strategic blunder, it is likely to continue doing so.

NEW DELHI – It is well known that China has the world’s largest navy and coast guard – the result of a tenfold increase in military spending since 1995 – which it uses to advance its pugnacious revisionism. But there are also numerous lesser-known – indeed, highly opaque – policies, projects, and activities that are supporting Chinese expansionism and placing the entire world at risk.

China has a long record of expanding its strategic footprint through stealthy maneuvers that it brazenly denies. For example, in 2017, it established its first overseas military base in Djibouti – a tiny country on the Horn of Africa, which also happens to be deeply in debt to China – while insisting that it had no such plan.

Today, China is building a naval base in Cambodia, which has leased to China one-fifth of its coastline and some islets. The almost-complete pier at the Chinese-financed Ream Naval Base appears conspicuously similar in size and design to a pier at China’s Djibouti base. China admits to investing in the base, but claims that only Cambodia’s navy will have access to it.

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