III Case studies: China-Central America and the Caribbean

China-Central American relationship in the context of tensions between China, Russia and the United States

Carlos Murillo Zamora


The international system has undergone a profound transformation since the end of the Cold War. This change is not only in the international order, but also it is more an architectural transformation of the system. Nowadays, the international system is characterized by new actors, new interactions and new arenas. Here, it is possible to identify one of the main problems regarding the analysis of the international system, something called “conceptual prisons”. These prisons contribute to a wrong perspective and interpretation of facts, undermining the possibilities for rigorous and pertinent analysis of international issues.

On the other hand, there is a renewed confrontation among hegemonic superpower challengers, who aspire to create new game rule and a 21st-century international order. However, this dispute is not comparable with the reality of the last century, because the geopolitics, geo-economics and geostrategy also show different rules and interactions; the superpowers have then incorporated new objectives and practices. We are in the Age of Globalization, but in fact superpowers build their identity and behaviour in function of their interest and goals as hegemons. Although that construction occurs in an arena characterized by a power diffusion in a reality dominated by cyberspace and new dimensions of power, as soft and smart, in comparison with the traditional hard power and domains of warfare and statecraft.2

Thus, we are in an international system of dynamic interaction among three superpowers. China, Russia and the United States. On one side, the PRC has adopted, in the last years, a proactive foreign policy to increase its strategic presence around the world, especially in LAC. Central America is not the exception; on the contrary, in the last couple of years China has established diplomatic relations with Panama (2017), El Salvador (2018) and Dominican Republic (2018). In 2007, this Asian country established diplomatic relations with Costa Rica. For that reason, this chapter aims to analyse the Chinese presence in the isthmus in the context of the hegemonic battle among the three superpowers.

My premise, in order to consider the goals and activities of China in Central America, is that it is necessary to recognize that historically Central America has been a socio-political laboratory, a geopolitical bridge between the Noith

and South Americas, and a connection between the Pacific and Atlantic oceans through the Caribbean Sea. In addition, it is a key part of the so-called “US backyard”. Regarding the Chinese presence in the Western Hemisphere, the interest of Beijing is not only based on its difference with Taiwan,3 but on the contrary, its interest lies in aspirations to global hegemony, and thus challenge the historical US hegemony. Therefore, Central America is again the arena where superpowers confront each other. At the present, China seeks to take a stance in the Isthmus to penetrate the US economy, weakening the US hegemony aspirations. Of course, it should not be forgotten that Russia has a presence in the region too.

My hypothesis is the Chinese presence in Central America, and in general in LAC, has effects on regional governance, because in addition to bilateral diplomatic, political, economic -especially trade - cultural and strategic relations, China has active participation in regional organizations and regimes. From this perspective, Beijing has a disruptive role in the Western Hemisphere.

In the first section of this chapter, I address the relationship between China, Russia and United States, characterized by complex triangular links and interactions. Afterwards, I refer to the Chinese Project, that in my opinion is a typified Confucian hegemony, different to the Western conception of hegemonic behaviour. It is necessary to understand that the Chinese cosmovision and philosophy is different from the Euro-American vision of the world.4 In a third section I summarize the activities of China in Latin America, a challenge in the US backyard. Then, in the last part I analyse the Beijing interest in Central America; considering Costa Rica’s turning point, the first country of the sub-region that broke relations with Taiwan in this century, and the new arena after the relations with Panama, Dominican Republic and El Salvador. [1]

post-hegemonic order defined by a classic balance of power, because “the great power politics is returning”.7 The question is just like the Pax Britannica dominated the 19th Century and Pax Americana controlled the 20th Century, will this be the Century of the Pax Sinical

China-United States relations show some ups and downs since 1979, from partner to strategic competitors,8 and these relations remain a key point for Beijing.9 While Russia-United States relations have been characterized by confrontation and rivalry. China-Russia relations, after the end of Cold War, have been smooth10 and characterized as “strategic cooperative partnership”.11

In conclusion, it is necessary to recognize that there are different perspectives and styles of hegemony. China, Russia and United States have distinct world views. For that reason, “China is not going to be an ordinary superpower”.12

2 The Chinese project: a “Confucian” hegemony

Beijing insists that its global project is not hegemonic, it lays the foundation in "The Five Principles of [Peaceful] Coexistence”13 and people-to-people relationship. In addition, the PRC considers the “hegemony” (baquan) is a dark and aggressive concept and that the hegemon is an “oppressive power”, for that reason it “will never go for expansion nor will it seek hegemony”14 The question is how Chinese philosophy understands the relations among nations, states and communities.

The Chinese vision of “hegemony” is presented as being different from “Western” forms of hegemony. Beijing speaks of “Chinese style of hegemony” or “hegemonic peace theory”, complemented with the notion of “survival space” (shengcun kongjiari). In this view, China needs to extend the territorial control “into the Indian Ocean, South China Sea, East China Sea, and vertically into space”.15 The idea is based on the concept “guotu gnan” (sea as national territory), so the Chinese “leaders could use military force with regard to [the territorial] issue and still justify their anti-hegemonic stance”.16 In addition to the necessity - in its view - of this increasing presence in its surrounding natural space. Beijing needs influence in Africa, Asia and LAC to obtain raw material, especially energetic and strategic resources. A “Confucian hegemony” is identified within the reasons of the PRC for its foreign behaviour and actions within a process of reinterpretation of the world built by Western powers. This “Confucian hegemony” uses international institutions and intergovernmental organizations, and the international order rules to consolidate its power and position in the world, without assuming the costs of creating new institutions and norms.17 Thus, Beijing tries to modify them from inside to build its own hegemony, for instance, by promoting “Beijing Consensus” or “Chinese model of development” as a tool of the PRC’s power projection.18 This model is alternative to the “Washington Consensus”, and increased its influence in Southeast Asia, Africa and LAC regions.

The rise of China is the defining moment for East, South and Southeast Asia, Eurasia, Africa, LAC and global order,19 due to political, economic, social and military effects. Do not forget that if China is preferring to use the resources of soft power - recall Sun Tzu’s arguments in “The Art of War” - Beijing nevertheless regards the use of force as the last resort of authority.20 The tone of his diplomacy has also changed considerably in recent years. The latest avatar of this transformation is the so-called “wolf warrior diplomacy”, a very aggressive style of diplomacy that is hardly reassuring.

To understand the PRC, the culture is “terribly important”.21 The ways of thinking, as well as the principles and values, are central in the building of the cosmo- vision, then it is necessary to identify and comprehend the key concepts of this Chinese philosophy.22 For this reason, it is necessary to look at Confucianism, which emphasizes the principle of harmony (he), the moral standards of benevolence (reti) and the rituals (li).2} The culture, history and experience of the construction of “I” and “Other” are also important to explain the behaviour of the superpowers. Culture does not exist in a vacuum.24 Therefore, Beijing is making “its own cultural cocktail to thr ive in the twenty-first century”.25 That will generate a “sinocentric identity”, whose essence is “the understanding of China as the centre of the world surrounded by the ‘four foreigners’ (siyi:) and the universal empire and the superior polity that deserves the submission as its vassals from the other countries”26; because Confucianism sees "the cosmos as a seamless web relations”.27 For that reason, the Chinese conception of sovereign is different from the Western notion.28 Remember, historically China considers itself to be the "centre of own civilizations”,29 and thinks it is a civilization-state, not a nation-state.30

However, some analysts31 consider that China cannot be the next hegemon, because it is a rising state and in a short time a new superpower, and not necessarily a hegemon, because “being a super power is different than being a [regional or] global hegemon”. The question is if a rising state could convert into a hegemonic state using the institutions and architecture of a system created by previous global hegemon. In my opinion, the answer is yes. Godwin also notes that China is a potential hegemon?2

The Chinese turning point was the strategy adopted by Deng Xiaoping: “tao guan yang hui” or “to hide brightness, and to nourish obscurity”, complemented with a “peaceful ascent” (heping jueqi) or “peaceful development” (hepingfazlmn).33 The goal is to build a “Sinicized world order”.34 In this way, Beijing looks for more influence in its backyard, East and Southeast Asia, Africa and LAC.

The evolution of Chinese regional/global projection reached a peak with “One Belt, One Road” (OBOR) (BRI since 2016), announced by Xi Jinping in 2013.35 This is the “most ambitious foreign and economic policy initiative”36 and consists of “a massive, capital-intensive and complex series of undertakings in dozens of countries over a number of years”.37 That plan is complemented with the “Going Global Strategy 2.0” designed to support China’s claim to be today’s “free trade champion”. This reflects Xi's desire for global leadership.38

Beijing established the “Forum on China-Africa Cooperation” as its idea of “South-South collaboration”.39 In addition, China participates in several intergovernmental clubs with “(re)emerging powers”, as BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa), Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), among others, it is a “forum diplomacy”.40 Those are elements of China’s grand strategy41 based on the thesis of “China dream” {zhongguo meng) and the idea of “March Westward” (xi jin).42

Definitively, the purpose of Xi Jinping is to establish a “community of shared destiny” (gongtong mingyunti), a Sinocentric project,43 a hegemonic project with Chinese style or Confucian hegemony.

3 China and Latin America: challenge in the US backyard

Sino-Latin American ties have a long history. According to Zhu, links between China and LAC date back to the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), although the first official contacts were established between the 1870s and 1900s.44 However, in the 20th century there was a significant acceleration, especially over a span of nearly 20 years 45 Leiva identifies three stages: The Economic Phase (2001-2008); the Soft Power Phase (2008-2013); and the Comprehensive Phase (since 2013), this coincides with the arrival of Xi Jinping.46 Chen and Li consider that Xi’s visit to Latin America in July 2014 marked the beginning of a new stage of “integral development” in the relationships.47 Evidence of this is that the CELAC-China Dialogue.

The Chinese presence in Latin America is evident with the "diplomacy of the yuan” and the efforts of Beijing to use its money as currency for reserves,48 its role as observer at regional organizations, and the variety of bilateral partnerships with LAC countries.49 Complemented by the growing investments,50 President Xi announced in 2014 the "1 + 3 + 6 Cooperation Framework”.51 The “China-CELAC Cooperation Plan 2015-2019” was adopted and Premier Li Keqiang added the “3x3 cooperation model”.52

On the other hand, “military diplomacy” strategy in the region is added to the analysis. Although the type and amount of Chinese military equipment is strategically offensive, they are eminently logistic.53 As part of the Chinese military diplomacy, Latin American defence ministers and officers of armed forces have been invited to Beijing.54 All this is part of China’s new' diplomacy, including medical assistance as part of “mask diplomacy” during coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

Definitively, the Chinese presence in LAC is not limited to coimnercial, economic, political and cultural issues, also containing a strategic, geopolitical and military dimension, in which it competes with the United States and second with Russia. This situation causes the United States concern, for that R. Tillerson v'arned of “China’s predatory advance”.55

4 The Chinese interest in Central America

Central America, together with the Caribbean area, is a sub-region with several particularities due to its geopolitical and geostrategic position, its history under dominance of the United States, and many different small countries. In the case of the Isthmus, there are two key dynamics: unity-diversity and continuity-rupture, with long dictatorial military regimes - Costa Rica is an exception —. Haro argues that Central America and the Caribbean Zone (CACZ) is one of the world’s hottest diplomatic battleground, and “China is seeking to integrate itself into the zone’s existing framework of economic and diplomatic governance and, simultaneously, to transform the parameters of engagement”.56 These countries "are a small but important component of China's evolving global plan”57 because the Isthmus is the geographic crossroads and convergence point of key political interests of Washington, European Union, Russia and other powers.58

An evidence of this Chinese interest is the creation in August 2006 of “Center for Central American and the Caribbean Studies” (CCACS) at the Institute of Latin American Studies - Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. This centre covers political, economic, diplomatic, social and cultural affairs of CACZ, and seeks to develop academic relations with its counterparts in the region.

The presence and interest of China in Central America has rapidly increased with the establishment of diplomatic relations with Costa Rica in June 2007. This does not mean that the country did not have commercial, political and cultural presence before, although on a scale limited by a minimum commercial exchange, the Xinhua Press Agency offices in each Central American country, and links with the Chinese diaspora. Prior to 2017, Beijing’s interest in the Panama Canal, the size of the Chinese community, and trade in the Colon Free Zone, made Panama a noteworthy case.59 There was also a short period of relations between China and Nicaragua, from 1985 to 1990, with the Sandinista Front government, led by Daniel Ortega; ties that were interrupted with the arrival of Violeta Barrios at the presidency.

On the other hand, the one objective of Beijing is to isolate the Taiwanese regime.60 When Sino-Costa Rican relations were established, a possible domino effect was expected in the Isthmus, which some analysts considered as imminent.61 However, there were two factors that prevented it. Costa Rica conditioned that for at least one year, Beijing would not establish diplomatic relations with any Central American government. Second, there was a “break” in the “dollar diplomacy” between China and Taiwan. Subsequently, other elements were added in the triangular relations (China, Russia and United States) and also Beijing’s efforts to consolidate its presence in Africa and the Middle East. During this period Costa Rica enjoyed some advantages in the bilateral relationship, which allowed it to obtain certain concessions, although the Costa Rican government did not know how to exploit this position in the 2010-2014 period (Chinchilla Miranda Administration) the ties showed a low profile and only increased somewhat during the Solis Rivera government (2014-2018), and Alvarado Quesada administration (2018-2022). Meanwhile, Beijing raised its presence with unofficial relations in the rest of the region, particularly with Panama and Nicaragua. In this case, through the project of the HK Nicaragua Canal Development Investment by the Chinese businessman Wang Jing, who sought to make reality the old Nicaraguan dream of building an interoceanic canal. This project was forgotten because it is infeasible for financial, technical and environmental reasons.

The turning point in the Chinese presence is the establishment of relations with Panama in June 2017, ten years after the break between Costa Rica and Taiwan. For Taipei, the Panamanian case was a severe blow and marked the beginning of a weakening of its international position, because Central America and the Caribbean constitute the region with the greatest number of diplomatic allies. Then, in rapid succession, Beijing establishes relations with the Dominican Republic (May 2018) and El Salvador (June 2018), while at the same time strengthening its presence in Honduras and Guatemala.62 Nicaragua is the exception.

Washington’s reaction to the decision of San Salvador was swift and was much stronger than the one formulated in the Panamanian case, largely due to the US presence and interests in El Salvador since the 1980s and the pressure from the Salvadoran business sector. Even in this case it was alluded63 that the country will become a military base for China. The US ambassador, J. Manes, warned that the Port of La Union, whose construction began in 2005, with funding from the BCIE and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), could be of interest to Beijing and become a Chinese military base, as part - according to the diplomat - of the “alarming” Chinese strategy of “economic and military expansion” in the region.64 That port, together with the Comalapa Air Complex, constitutes a strategic area that was offered to the United States as a naval-military complex.65 Washington wasn't interested, but since then. Rex Tillerson has denounced "Chinese imperialism”.66 The warnings of Ambassador Manes had been occurring since July 2018, when she announced that China is a threat to US interests in terms of investment and that the projects did not benefit the Central American countries during the construction phase, because of the Chinese style of that bringing manpower and construction materials from the PRC.67

Tirado believes that Washington fears that China is using Central American ports, particularly El Salvadoran ports, to consolidate the Pacific trade route, which would further exacerbate the loss of geopolitical control that the United States faces in the region.6S In this context, at the beginning of November 2018, the presidents of El Salvador and the Dominican Republic visited China to sign cooperation and investment agreements within the framework of the BRI. The communications secretary of El Salvador’s presidency, Roberto Lorenzana, said the visit of the President of Salvador to China reflects the importance that both countries attach to the relationship. According to him, it is a relationship with a “great diplomatic political value”. In December 2019, El Salvadoran President, Nayib Bukele visited Beijing. While in the case of the Dominican government, in statements of the Minister of the Presidency, J. Peralta, it was pointed out that “this relationship of mutual cooperation will bring about economic dynamism and the creation of opportunities for our country”, especially in the trade and investment areas, implemented in the last two years.

Washington’s reaction after the Salvadoran decision went so far as to describe China as “destabilizing” and “interfering politically” in the Isthmus and in continental politics.69 This attitude on the part of the United States can only be explained by the “firefighter policy” thesis, that is, the US government only reacts to what is happening in the region when it sees a threat of fire due to the intervention of an extracontinental power, otherwise it maintains a low presence. Trump administration has increased its concerns about the Chinese presence in the Isthmus. On 22 January 2020, the State Secretary, Mike Pompeo, warned, during a short visit to Costa Rica, that “China only offers debt, dependency and erodes sovereignty”.

There is no evidence that China has an interest in establishing such a military base in El Salvador, but it does promote a special economic zone (SEZ) in that countiy and building a dry canal that allows connection with Honduran ports (after the establishment of diplomatic relations with Tegucigalpa) and export from there to the United States and European Union markets. To this is added the Gulf of Fonseca Development Plan, a trilateral agreement between El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua, signed in 2017, to seek the development of an economically depressed zone that may be of interest to China.70 When Beijing established relations with Costa Rica, one of the main objectives was to develop an SEZ and take advantage of the spaces that DR-CAFTA offers to the Central American countries to penetrate the US market. This project did not materialize due to the slowness of the procedures in Costa Rica.

The Revista Estrategia у Negocios evidences the Chinese presence in the Isthmus through the numerous investments that have been made.71 In Honduras, a hydroelectric dam worth US$350 million is built, despite not having diplomatic relations, with a water mirror of 52 km2, which becomes the largest Chinese project in the Isthmus. While in Panama, the СНЕС Company began the construction of a cruise port, valued at US$165 million, which is added to the investments made in 2014 for US$78 million and in 2016 for US$233 million. Also, there are studies to invest US$1 billion in a container port in Colon (Caribbean coast), a gas installation at the entrance of the Panama Canal and a freight and passenger- train between Panama City and the border with Costa Rica. That is why J. Yao, a professor at the University of Panama, points out that “relations with China will boost Panama’s port and maritime development in all senses, which opens a new phase in the history of maritime Panama”.72 In Nicaragua, the telecommunications company Xinwei has been operating since 2016 with an investment of US$200 million and in Guatemala the investment in a 300 megawatt/hour wind farm valued at US$900 million is in an international litigation.73 This is part of the active “yuan diplomacy” in the Isthmus.74

As the first Central American country in this century to break relations with Taiwan and establish them with RPC, a reference to the case of Costa Rica is valid. The decision of the Arias Sanchez government (2006-2010) responded to an adopted decision before the beginning of that administration and that responded to commercial, economic, political and even personal criteria of the president. Between May 2006 and April 2007, the Taiwanese government made offers of reimbursable and non-reimbursable assistance to Costa Rica to try to avoid breaking relations, but the decision had been adopted. The Costa Rican authorities described the decision as a historic step and a pragmatic action that recognized “the reality of China’s meaning for the rest of the world in terms of economic growth and development opportunity for mutual benefit”.75 However, there were analysts76 who argued that it was a contradiction for a democratic country like

Costa Rica to establish relations with the authoritarian regime of PRC, which could affect the reputation of “the Switzerland of Central America” and its political stability, democratic traditions, pacifism and the recognition of President Al ias for his Noble Prize of 1987. None of this happened.

For the then Minister of the Presidency and brother of the President, Rodrigo Arias, in the negotiations with Beijing three spaces were opened: (1) “a more advanced state of diplomacy” and “a level of diplomacy that puts emphasis on similarities and not differences”; (2) the existence of an era of free trade between Central America and the economic powers and the release of “the arrogance and fears that for a long time held him prisoner behind the iron bars of isolation” and (3) “the greatest step a small nation has ever taken in matters of political and commercial openness”.77 Therefore, as Urcuyo notes, the relationship with China is not only commercial but contextualized in the political and security dimensions, and related to the question of Taiwan.78 However, for this analyst, “China does not come to dispute the hegemony of the U.S., neither in Latin America nor in Costa Rica”.79 While for the Political Counsellor of the Embassy of China in Costa Rica, Y. Bo what China seeks in Central America is the development in its scientific conception, not at the expense of the environment or interests of others, for what “the strategic alliance between China-Costa Rica wants to show a more global vision within the framework of China’s relations with the countries of America”.80 President Arias questions the criticisms of an eventual contradiction in establishing links with Beijing, so the President “characterized the rapprochement with China as a ‘natural evolution’ of Costa Rica’s modernization efforts because it offered important economic opportunities for the country’s highly-educated middle class, and specialization in high-tech expoxts”.81

However, Costa Rica had to abandon traditional arguments in its policy, such as the defence of human rights, as President Arias acknowledged, after Hu Jin- tao’s visit to the country, that “we do not touch the issue of human rights. I took the opportunity to talk about the things that are important and urgent for Costa Rica”.82 The Costa Rican government moderated the tone of the discourse on the defence of human rights in international forums, so as not to affect PRC susceptibility on issues considered sensitive, such as the question of Tibet and ethnic minority communities, like Uyghurs and Mongolians.

As I indicated in this section, bilateral relations with China have not been positive for Costa Rica, although Beijing built the national football stadium (inaugurated in March 2011), the facilities of the National Police School and other minor projects, along with the purchase of treasury bonds and the signing of an FTA and suppoi-ted the construction of a “Chinatown district”, there are also failures that have high cost to the country, such as the oil refinery of the binational company Soresco (Sociedad Reconstructora Chino-Costarricense, integrated by China National Petroleum Corporation and Refinadora Costarricense de Petroleo), and the practically forgotten SEZ project and the slow expansion of “Ruta 32”, which connects the “Central Valley” of the country with the Port of Limon on the Caribbean coast. In terms of trade, the balance is increasingly deficient for Costa Rica, although Costa Rican exports have increased, but not in the expected volume. The

Costa Rica experience supports the argument that there is a tendency to consider that Central America is a “loser” of the relationship with China.

The other case that deserves a reference is that of Panama who is treated in another chapter of this book.S3 China has investments in maritime, telecommunications, electronic, railway, baking, agriculture, mining, logistics and energetic sectors. For that reason, according to Ellis, the Chinese-Panamanian relations pose strategic risks to effective Panama sovereignty and the United States’ position in the Isthmus, beyond of the military activities, the principal risks posed by the expanding China-Panama relationship is that “it will exploit the economic- oriented competition between the countiy’s family groups - in combination with the malleability of Panama’s political, government and juridical institutions — to establish itself as a dominant player in key sectors of the Panamanian economy and government”.84

Once again, Central America becomes a laboratory, this time because of the Chinese presence and the interactions between Washington and Beijing, as in the 1970s and 1980s because of the Russian-American relationship, and even in the 19th century due to the tensions between the United States and England. The difference this time is the Confucian style of Chinese projection, its model of development based on the idea of “South-South solidarity” and relations between peoples. Therefore, to understand the situation of Central America and each of the countries in the hemispheric and international context it is necessary to place the situation in the triangular dynamics between the superpowers and their hegemonic aspirations.

In the Caribbean area, Beijing adopted, in September 2007. the Xiamen Declaration after the China-Caribbean Joint Business Council, including the following objectives: celebrate periodical China-Caribbean Business Conferences, exchange delegations, organize joint expositions and workshops, encourage new investment policies, improve cooperation in human resources training, build an information platform for business and hold working meetings of the Council.85

In the present conjuncture Central America, once again, becomes a laboratory of what is the struggle between the superpowers. This does not mean that the next global hegemon will be decided in the Isthmus; but we are observing the nature of the efforts of Beijing, Moscow and Washington, with a predominance of soft power, but in different degrees and styles for each of the countries.

In the case of China, the presence in the Isthmus is not only for commercial purposes; this is not the priority, because they are small economies that do not represent a benefit for the Chinese commercial and economic interests. Then the intention is to use Central America as a springboard to penetrate the US market, challenge US domination and control in the hemisphere, restrict Taiwan’s manoeuvre space and, above all, consolidate its Confucian hegemony, whose implementation is based on the hybrid exercise of power and an integral and holistic management of Sino-Latin American relations that links political, economic, social, cultural and strategic factors with a medium and long-term perspective, instead of the immediacy sought by the Western style.

Therefore, to understand the Chinese project of global presence/influence it is necessary to understand the Chinese worldview and culture, because the construction of language has important differences to the Western conception. Hence, the need to overcome European constructs to analyse international relations is crucial. In that sense, this ratifies my premise about the nature of Central America as a political, social, economic and strategic laboratoxy. It also ratifies my hypothesis about the Chinese presence in Central America, and in general, in LAC, regarding the effects on regional governance, because in addition to bilateral diplomatic, political, trade, cultural and strategic relations, China has active participation in regional organizations and regimes. From this perspective, Beijing has a disruptive role in the Western Hemisphere, which is deepened by the presence of Russia and the remrn (under the fireman's policy) of the United States in order to regain the control they perceive are losing in the region.


  • 1 Murillo (2018).
  • 2 Brizlmiev et al. (2018:1).
  • 3 I prefer to use the concept of Taiwan than that of the Republic of China, because Taiwanese people have constructed a national identity, especially the young generation who identify with Taiwanese community and reject the Chinese nationality, not necessarily the Chinese civilization.
  • 4 Kavalski (2012:5); Feng (2007).
  • 5 Godwin (2004:95).
  • 6 Sanchez (2010:374).
  • 7 Idem, p. 44.
  • 8 Zhang (2009:27).
  • 9 Goldstein (2013:60), also Clark (2011).
  • 10 Ye (2010:131), also Weitz (2010).
  • 11 Ye (2010:133).
  • 12 Kerr (2010:150).
  • 13 See Ng (2005), also Zhang (2009).
  • 14 Ng (2005:26).
  • 15 Idem, p. 49.
  • 16 Idem, p. 50.
  • 17 Kavalski (2012:4).
  • 18 Cheng (2013:59); see also Toro (2013:20).
  • 19 Ikenberry (2014:42).
  • 20 Zakaria (2008:106).
  • 21 Idem, p. 62.
  • 22 Idem,p. 113.
  • 23 Feng (2007:19).
  • 24 Zakaria (2008:113).
  • 25 Idem, p. 114.
  • 26 Zhang (2009:20).
  • 27 Paltiel (2009:57).
  • 28 Zhang (2009:20-21).
  • 29 Paltiel (2009:47).
  • 30 Toro (2013:28).
  • 31 Oskaplan (2013:10).
  • 32 Godwin (2004:83).
  • 33 Li (2016:1-2); Guo and Hua (2007:1).
  • 34 Li (2016:10).
  • 35 Nordin and Weissman (2018:231).
  • 36 Cai (2017:17).
  • 37 UN-ESCAP (2017:583).
  • 38 China Policy (2017:4).
  • 39 Breslin (2013:1273).
  • 40 Striiver (2012).
  • 41 See Leveret and Wu (2017); Van Hooft (2017); Ploberger (2017).
  • 42 Leveret and Wu (2017:118, 124).
  • 43 Nordin and Weissman (2018:236).
  • 44 See Zhu (2013:79).
  • 45 U.S. CRS (2020).
  • 46 Leiva (2017:40-42).
  • 47 Chen and Li (2017:150).
  • 48 Rosales and Kuwayama (2012:27).
  • 49 U.S. CRS (2020).
  • 50 Rios (2018).
  • 51 Niu (2016:42).
  • 52 Idem, p. 43.
  • 53 Pastrana and Vera (2017:64).
  • 54 Zhu (2013:90).
  • 55 Cited in Phillips (2018).
  • 56 Haro (2011:203).
  • 57 Idem.
  • 58 Belladonna (2019).
  • 59 Sierra (2017). See also Chapter 12 by Kellner and Wintgens in this book.
  • 60 U.S. CRS (2018).
  • 61 E&N (2018).
  • 62 Zissis (2018).
  • 63 Montes (2018).
  • 64 Tirado (2018).
  • 65 Montes (2018).
  • 66 Cited in Phillips (2018).
  • 67 Rios (2018).
  • 68 Tirado (2018).
  • 69 Idem.
  • 70 Idem.
  • 71 E&N (2018).
  • 72 Cited in Sierra (2017).
  • 73 E&N (2018).
  • 74 Belladona (2019).
  • 75 Burgues (2009:7).
  • 76 DeHart (2012:1362).
  • 77 Arias (2009:22).
  • 78 Urcuyo (2009:31).
  • 79 Idem, p. 34.
  • 80 Bo (2009:16-17).
  • 81 Cited in DeHart (2012:1364-1365).
  • 82 La Nation (2008).
  • 83 See Chapter 12 by Kellner and Wintgens in this book.
  • 84 Ellis (2018).
  • 85 Haro (2011:209).


Arias Rodrigo. 2009. “El Alcance de las Relaciones entre Costa Rica у la Republica Popular China” in Relaciones China-Costa Rica, Marta Trejos Montero (ed.), San Jose, Costa Rica, CIDH. pp. 19-26.

Belladonna Alberto. 2019. Central America Between China and the United States, Milan, ISPI (www.ispionline.it/en pubblicazione/central-america-between-china-and- united-states-24236).

Bo Yu. 2009. “Alianza Estrategica Republica Popular China у Costa Rica” in Relaciones China-Costa Rica, Marta Trejos Montero (ed.), San Jose, Costa Rica, CIDH, pp. 13-18.

Breslin Shaun. 2013. “China and the South: Objectives, Actors and Interactions”, Des’elop- ment and Change, Vol. 44, No 6, pp. 1273-1294.

Brizhinev Dmitry, Ryan Nathan, Bradbury Roger. 2018. “Modelling Hegemonic Power Transition in Cyberspace”, Complexity, Vol. 2018 (www.hindawi.com/journals/ complexity/2018/9306128/).

Burgues Antonio. 2009. “Introduccion” in Relaciones China-Costa Rica, Marta Trejos Montero (ed.), San Jose, Costa Rica, CIDH, pp. 7-12.

Cai Peter. 2017. “Understanding China’s Belt and Road Initiative”, Lowy Institute Analyses, Sidney (www.lowyinstitute.org/sites/default/files/documentsUnderstanding%20China%E 2%80%99s%20Belt%20and%20Road%20Initiative_WEB_l .pdf).

Chen Yuanting, Li Han. 2017. “La nueva Etapa del ‘Desarrollo Constructive’ de las relaciones sino-latinoamericanas”, Relaciones Internacionales, Vol. 23, No 53, pp. 149-163 (https://revistas.unlp.edu.ar/RRII-IRI/issue/view/369).

Cheng Joseph. 2013. “China’s Regional Strategy and Challenges in East Asia”, China Perspectives, No 2013/2, pp. 53-65 (http://chinaperspectives.revues.org/6182).

China Policy. 2017. “China Going Global Between Ambition and Capacity”, Beijing (https://policycn.com/2017-chinas-going-global-strategy/).

Clark Ian. 2011. “China and the United States: A Succession of Hegemonies?”, International Affairs,Vo. 87,No l.pp. 13-28.

DeHart Monica. 2012. “Remodeling the Global Development Landscape: The China Model and South-South Cooperation in Latin America”, Third World Quarterly, Vol. 33, No 7, pp. 1359-1375.

E&N. 2018. “Crece la influencia economica (y diplomatica) de China en C'entroame- rica. Estrategia у Negocios”, March 26 (www.estrategiaynegocios.net/lasclavesdeldia/ 1163942-330/crece-la-influencia-econ%C3%B3mica-y-diplom%C3%Altica-de-china- en-centroam%C3%A9rica).

Ellis Evan. 2018. “The Evolution of Panama-PRC Relations Since Recognition, and their Strategic Implications for the U.S. and the Region”, Global Americans (https://the globalainericans.org/2018/09/the-evolution-of-panama-prc-relations-since-recognition- and-their-strategic-implications-for-the-u-s-and-the-region/).

Feng Huiyun. 2007. Chinese Strategic Culture and Foreign Policy Decision-Making: Confucianism, Leadership and War, Abingdon, UK, Routledge.

Godwin Paul H.B. 2004. “China as Regional Hegemon?” in The Asia-Pacific: A Region in Transition, Jim Rolfe (ed.), Honolulu, Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies, pp. 81-101 (https://apcss.org/Publications/Edited%20Volumes/RegionalFinal%20chap ters/Chapter6Godwin.pdf).

Goldstein Avery. 2013. “China’s Foreign Policy and the Leadership Transition: Prospects for Change Under the ‘Fifth Generation’” in China’s Foreign Policy: Who Makes it, and How is it Made? Gilbert Rozman (ed.), New York, Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 39-64.

Guo Sujian, Hua Shiping. 2007. “Introduction” in New Dimensions of Chinese Foreign Policy, Guo Sujian and Hua Shiping (eds.), Lanham, MD, Lexington Books, pp. 1-6.

Haro Navejas Francisco Javier. 2011. “China’s Relations with Central America and the Caribbean States: Reshaping the Region” in China Engages Latin America. Tracing the Trajectoiy, Adrian H. Hearn and Jose Luis Leon-Manriquez (eds.), Boulder, CO, Lynne Rienner Publishers, pp. 203-219.

Ikenberry John G. 2014. “From Hegemony to the Balance of Power: The Rise of China and American Grand Strategy in East Asia”, International Journal of Korean Unification Studies, Vol. 23, No 2, pp. 41-63 (https://spia.princeton.edu/system/files/research/docu ments/Ikenberry_From%20Hegemony%20to%20the%20Balance%20of%20Power.pdf).

Kavalski Emilian. 2012. “Introduction: Engaging China’s Foreign Policy” in TheAshgate Research Companion to Chinese Foreign Policy, Emilian Kavalski (ed.), Farnham, England, Ashgate Publishing.

Kerr David. 2010. “Central Asian and Russian Perspectives on China’s Strategic Emergence”, International Affairs, Vol. 86, No l,pp. 127-152.

La Nacion. 2008. “China у Costa Rica lanzan negociacion de TLC durante gira del presi- dente Hu”, November 17 (www.nacion.com/el-mundo/china-y-costa-rica-lanzan-nego ciacion-de-tlc-durante-gira-del-presidente-hu/7NMSR6DYQ5A6VEI4EZZFNZNYYM story/).

Leiva Van de Maele Diego. 2017. “Xi Jinping and The Sino-Latin American Relations in The 21st Century: Facing The Beginning of A New Phase?”, Journal of China and International Relations, Vol. 5, No 1, pp. 35-67.

Leverett Flynt, Wu Bingbing. 2017. “The New Silk Road and China’s Evolving Grand Strategy”, The China Journal, Vol. 77, pp. 110-132.

Li Xing. 2016. “The Expansion of China’s Global Hegemonic Strategy: Implications for Latin America”, Journal of China and International Relations, Special Issue 2016, pp. 1-26. (https://journals.aau.dk/index.php/jcir/article/view/1587/1287).

Montes Julio. 2018. '“Base militar china en El Salvador?”, Defensa.com, December 23 (www.defensa.conLcentro-america/base-militar-china-salvador/print/).

Murillo Carlos. 2018. Reconceptualizacion de Relaciones Internacionales en un mundo transfonnado, Heredia, Costa Rica, Universidad Nacional.

Ng Chad-Son. 2005. Assessing China’s Hegemony Ambitions, Ft. Leavenworth, KS, US Army Command and General Staff College, Master’s Thesis in Military Art and Science.

Niu Haibin. 2016. “A New Era of China-Latin America Relations”, Anuario de Inte- gracion, Vol. 11, pp. 39-51 (www.cries.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/03-Niu.pdf).

Nordin Astrid, Weissmann Michael. 2018. “Will Trump Make China Great Again? The Belt and Road Initiative and International Order”, International Affairs, Vol. 94, No 2, pp. 231-249.

Oskaplan Mert. 2013. Can China be the Next Hegemon? Istanbul, TASAM (TurkishAsian Center for Strategic Studies) (https://tasam.org/Files/Icerik/File/can_china_be_the_ next_hegemon_8d80623d-8a7c-4ad3-85c 1 -0162fd 16ce54.pdf).

Paltiel Jeremy. 2009. “China’s Regionalization Policies: Illiberal Internationalism or Neo- Mencian Benevolence?” in China and the Global Politics of Regionalization, Emilian Kavalski (ed.), Farnham, England, Ashgate Publishing, pp. 47-61.

Pastrana Eduardo, Vera Diego. 2017. “Transition de poder у orden mundial: el ascenso global de China у su proyeccion creciente en America Latina у el Caribe” in La proyec- cion de China en America Latina у el Caribe, Eduardo Pastrana and Hubert Gehring (eds.), Bogota, Editorial Pontificia Universidad Javeriana/Fundacion Konrad Adenauer, pp. 23-70.

Phillips Tom. 2018. “While Trump Eyes Latin America with Malign Neglect, China Sees Opportunity”, The Guardian, February 9.

Ploberger Christian. 2017. “One Belt, One Road - China’s New Grand Strategy”, Journal of Chinese Economic and Business Studies, Vol. 15, No 3, pp. 289-305.

Rios Munguia Gilberto. 2018. “China en Centro America”, Nodal, August 30 (www.nodal. am/2018/08/china-en-centro-america-por-gilberto-rios-munguia/).

Rosales Osvaldo, Kuwayama Mikio. 2012. China у America Latina у el Caribe. Haciauna relation econdmica у comercial estrategica, Santiago, Chile, CEPAL.

Sanchez Alejandro W. 2010. “Russia and Latin America at the Dawn of the Twenty-First Century”, Journal of Transatlantic Studies, Vol. 8, No 4, pp. 362-384.

Sierra Luis Alberto. 2017. “Relaciones entre China у Panama, un gran abanico de oportuni- dades”, Xinhuanet, October 31 (http://spanish.xinhuanet.com/chino/index.htm).

Striiver Georg. 2012. “What Friends are Made of: Bilateral Linkages and Domestic Drivers of Foreign Policy Alignment with China”, GIGA Working Papers, No 209, Hamburg, German Institute of Global and Area Studies (www.giga-hamburg.de/workingpapers).

Tirado Arantxa. 2018. “La pugna EE.UU.-China llega a El Salvador”, Celag.org, September 9 (www.celag.org/pugna-eeuu-china-llega-el-salvador/).

Toro Hardy Alfredo. 2013. The World Tinned Upside Down. The Complex Partnership Between China and Latin America, New Jersey, World Scientific Publishing Company.

UN-ESCAP. 2017. “China’s ‘One Belt, One Road’ Initiative: An ESCAP Report”, Population and Development Review, Vol. 43, No 3, pp. 583-587.

Urcuyo Constantino. 2009. “El Contexto de las Relaciones con China” in Relaciones China-Costa Rica, M. Trejos (ed.), San Jose, CIDH, pp. 27-36.

U.S. CRS (Congressional Research Service). 2018. “China’s Engagement with Latin America and the Caribbean”, In Focus, September 18 (https://fas.org/sgp/crs/row/ IF10982.pdf).

-. 2020. “China’s Engagement with Latin America and the Caribbean”, In Focus,

June 1 (https://fes.org/sgp/crs/row/IF10982.pdf).

Van Hooft Paul. 2017. Grand Strategy, Oxford Online Bibliographies (www.oxfordbib liographies.com/view/document/obo-9780199743292/obo-9780199743292-0218.xml).

Weitz Richard. 2010. “China-Russia Security Relations: Strategic Parallelism without Partnership or Passion” in China and Russia Competition and Partnership, David J. Rogerson (ed.), New York, Nova Science Publishers, pp. 1-100.

Ye Zicheng. 2010. Inside China's Grand Strategy’, edited and translated by Steven Levine, Guoli Liu, Lexington, The University Press of Kentucky.

Zakaria Fareed. 2008. The Post-America World, New York, W. W. Norton & Company.

Zhang Baijia. 2009. “Overview. The Evolution of China’s Diplomacy and Foreign Relations in the Era of Reform, 1976-2005” in Challenges to Chinese Foreign Policy: Diplomacy, Globalization, and the Next World Power, Yufan Hao, C.X. George Wei and Lowell Dittmer (eds.), Lexington, University Press of Kentucky, pp. 15-33.

Zhu Zhiqun. 2013. China's New Diplomacy: Rationale, Strategies and Significance, Second Edition, Farnham, Routledge.

Zissis Carin. 2018. Central America Caught in China-Taiwan Diplomatic Tussle, New York, Americas Society/Council of the Americas, September 11 (www.as-coa.org/ articles/central-america-caught-china-taiwan-diplomatic-tussle).

12 The rise of China in Panama under Varela (2014-2019)

  • [1] The Chinese, Russian and American relationship In the current world there is no global hegemon; but it is possible to refer to ahegemonic competition among the rising superpowers showing different hegemonic styles; China, Russia and the United States. This triangular relationshipshows three distinct actors and types of links among the vertex. Therefore, thereis a trilateral asymmetric balance superpower. Each member of this triangle usesits power resources according to its history and experience. For instance, Moscowalludes to eurasianism and a theory of a multipolar world. Washington continues with a style based on traditional hard power and diplomacy. While Beijingemerges as “a good neighbour and responsible member of Asia’s multilateralorganizations”; all this by using diplomacy, economic cooperation and militarydiplomacy as part of its own resources to compete with the other two members.5 Russia has a strong interest in LAC, however, this is focalized in bilateral relations, particularly with Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua. A good example of thoseinterest, it was a discussion entitled “Russia-Panama: Prospects for BusinessCooperation” (2003) and Putin visited Guatemala in July 2007.6 In October 2017,the “Centro de Capacitacion contra el Narcotrafico” in Managua was inauguratedas a subsidiary of Russia’s Ministry of Defense. Meanwhile, China is building a
< Prev   CONTENTS   Source   Next >