China In Argentina: a case of necolonialism in progress

Por Expediente Abierto

Argentina is one of the countries in the Western Hemisphere where the Chinese party-state has entered most strongly from an economic, diplomatic, and political point of view. This report seeks to explain the reasons for this and analyze its potential risks for national and hemispheric security.

In this sense, this study proposes to critically assess the relations between China and Argentina, considering some areas where bilateral ties translate into a relationship of mutual dependence. Such is the case of oilseed exports, in which Argentina is a critical supplier to satisfy the consumption level of this product among the Chinese population.

Despite this, most directions from which the Chinese government has increased its presence in Argentine territory involve risks to Argentina’s security, sovereignty, and the entire region. The Asian giant has, in fact, some strategic interests that motivate it to enter the South American country aggressively. The most worrying are those related to the exploitation of lithium reserves, illegal fishing activity on the Atlantic coast, the installation of a space base in Neuquén –whose territorial control corresponds exclusively to the People’s Liberation Army–as well as access to Antarctica for defense and mining purposes.

The Chinese party-state has managed to exploit a series of situations and structural problems in Argentina, including the federal organization of the State, which has been exploited by Chinese businessmen, officials, and other interest groups to gain access to the provinces without the agreement of the national government. This fact explains the numerous infrastructure works in the provinces, characterized by acts of corruption and opaque management of resources.

This report also considers the ideological closeness of some currents of Peronism with the Chinese Communist Party. It also ponders the economic crisis that has forced the government of Alberto Fernandez to seek financing options in capital from the Asian giant, ignoring even the rules and institutions of the international financial system.

The conclusions of this study point to considering the Chinese issue as a significant problem for the next government of Argentina (2024-2028). It invites the reader to rethink the numerous links with the Asian giant regarding a democratic governance model that respects the rule of law and seeks opportunities in bilateral trade beyond the agro-export model.


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