From China Brief (Volume 7, Issue 20):
China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) increasingly operates as an instrument of diplomatic statecraft for the People’s Republic of China (PRC). The PLA, an arm of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) rather than a national army, is enhancing its ties with various militaries around the world, illustrated by military-to-military visits to the United States, India and other nations, fleet visits to ports around the globe and various other visits by senior PLA officers. The military’s role constitutes just one part of an expanding presence that China manifests as a “major power” on the global stage.
In particular, the PLA’s involvement with Latin America illustrates Beijing’s pursuit of a multi-faceted strategy to expand its global presence. Latin America, of course, has the historical overlay of the U.S. Monroe Doctrine of 1823, whereby the United States jealously guarded the region from “foreign” intervention, often disregarding the distress of others in and outside of the region. [Full Text]
Cynthia Watson is a Professor at the National War College.