Beijing’s naval strategy may target Australia’s largest port

Australia’s leading policy think tanks could seek to manage ports in Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney through state-owned enterprises (SOEs) as part of China’s broad ambition to project the power of the communist regime globally. I warned the federal government that it was possible.

A report titled “Jumping Over the Sea” by Charlie Lions Jones (pdf), The Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) has identified three Australian ports as potential parts of this strategy.

Jones warned the federal government that Beijing sees these places as “strategic strengths” that allow China to use civilian control to establish economic interests and military control in the Indo-Pacific region.

The 2019 academic report on China’s maritime investment supports Jones’ claim. Attention China’s maritime terminal operators saw Australia as a “strategic route” to China’s expansion in the Oceania region. The 2019 academic report focuses specifically on the ports of Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney.

“Beijing’s willingness to bend both political and military muscles is underpinned by foreign investment in critical infrastructure, which allows the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) to cross the” first island chain “and military. It provides the back support needed to project force. “West Pacific,” Jones wrote.

Indispensable for expanding China’s maritime influence is the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), and Jones said that Beijing would bring PLA to its port and hub network (pearl strings) through SOEs such as COSCO and China Merchants Group.

Chinese companies’ containers China Shipping and COSCO (China Ocean Shipping Company) will be loaded into containers when they depart from the port of Hamburg, Germany on March 11, 2020. (Fabian Bimmer / File Photo / Reuters)

State-owned enterprises, which are superficially regarded as commercial activities, are commercial enterprises operated by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), each under the direction of the CCP Committee and the Politburo, whose commercial strategy is the governing body of the CCP. There are a number of subordinate branch branches that are tasked with ensuring that they are in line. This comprehensive control of the enterprise could go further, and the enterprise often has a paramilitary organization within the company.

But more worrisome than ideological control over these commercial ventures is the fusion of political forces that requires all state-owned enterprises to be involved in the Chinese administration.

In February 2020, China’s military expert Isaac Kardon of the US Parliament’s US-China Economic Security Review Board (pdf“The military-civilian fusion program reflects and advances a clear leadership preference to harness the growing commercial capabilities of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) abroad.”

Under multiple laws, including the 2010 National Defense Mobilization Law and the 2017 National Defense Mobilization Law, all Chinese-made private infrastructure projects, including BRI projects, are now required to comply with military specifications, including the capabilities they provide to PLA. There is. Authority to seize private assets and resources.

Australian port leased by China

Currently, Australia has two ports, managed or jointly owned by a Chinese company.

TheĀ· Newcastle Harbor Jointly leased for 98 years by SOE China Merchants and Hastings Fund Management Darwin Harbor It was leased for 99 years from Landbridge, a Chinese company with close ties to CCP.

Darwin Harbor was the most controversial of these acquisitions and was strategically important to Australia and the United States. This is because Darwin has hosted a rotation of the US Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) for interoperability training with the Australian Defense Force for six months a year.

A report by the Australian Senate raises concerns that China’s port operations management could facilitate cyberattacks and intelligence gathering against nearby US and Australian troops.

Jones decides what needs to be built or expanded by reviewing Australia’s port infrastructure, given that the federal government wants to increase investment in the country’s naval platform as part of a strategic power update. Insist that you need to.

“Australia needs to make sure that its approach to bidding on port infrastructure is coordinated by the federal government and is in line with national security priorities,” Jones wrote.