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Wed May 15, 2019, 02:16 PM

China's "Pearl Necklace"

(Source- Shin In Kyun's Daily Defense 5.13)

South Korean defense analyst Shin In Kyun put together a nice map of Chinese port interests extending from Hainan to Khartoum on the Red Sea, and to Bagamoyo, on the East Coast of Tanzania. The chart reminds one of the 15th Century trading patterns of China described in When China Discovered America by Gavin Menzies, and When China Rules the World by Martin Jacques.

Starting from Hong Kong, and proceeding south to Hainan Island in the South China Sea, the Chinese maritime "pearl necklace" ( 진주 목걸이 ), described by Shin, marks the military bases of the Spratley and Paracel islands, and then proceeds westward toward unspecified locations in Cambodia and Thailand; the Kyaukpyu Special Economic Zone in Myanmar on the Bay of Bengal; Chittagong, Bangladesh; Hambantota port project in Sri Lanka; the Maldives; Gwadar, Pakistan; Bagamoyo, Tanzania; Djibouti; and Khartoum. The Chinese prefer the term maritime silk road; the US coined term, "string of pearls," implies a military rather than economic objective.

Another of the unidentified locations may be the Kuantan Port in Malaysia, a known Belt and Road Initiative.


One of BRI initiatives in Thailand is the Kra Canal project:

Another initiative that might have implications for the BRI is the controversial Kra Canal project. This would see a waterway excavated across the narrow 135-km isthmus linking the Gulf of Thailand directly to the Indian Ocean, enabling ships from China and other north Asian countries to save around three days sailing, via Singapore, on journeys westwards. The canal would cost around $28bn to complete, but has long been the subject of political controversy due to the impact it would have on fellow ASEAN members Singapore and Malaysia.*

*China's Belt and Road Initiative to reshape routes in Thailand and the broader South-east Asian region

Sihanoukville Special Economic Zone (SSEZ) and the planned Phnom Penh-Sihanoukville Expressway are two BRI projects in Cambodia. Sihanoukville is the only Cambodian deep water port.

The Belt and Road in Cambodia: Successes and Challenges

Shin points out that the port of Gwadar is the centerpiece of the "string of pearls." Gwadar was the scene of a recent terrorist attack last weekend by separatists.

Gwadar port was constructed by China as part of the Belt and Road Initiative and is an important hub in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). Beijing aims to expand its influence in Pakistan and across Central and South Asia.

Baloch separatists both militant and political groups oppose China's increasing involvement in the province. In March 2018, Aslam Baloch, a BLA commander, told Indian media that Pakistan and China are exploiting Baluchistan's resources.*

* Pakistan: Gunmen target luxury hotel in China-funded port city https://www.dw.com/en/pakistan-gunmen-target-luxury-hotel-in-china-funded-port-city/a-48701401

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soryang May 2019 OP
Anon-C May 2019 #1

Response to soryang (Original post)

Wed May 15, 2019, 02:22 PM

1. Awesome analysis by Shin!

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