01.30.20

Senator David Perdue Questions SOUTHCOM Commander On Rising Chinese Influence

Admiral Faller: “China seeks to take their soft aims and turn them into hard power targets - in space, in cyber, in port access.”

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator David Perdue (R-GA), a member of the Senate Armed Services and Foreign Relations committees, today questioned Admiral Craig Faller, Commander of U.S. Southern Command, about China’s rising influence in South America.

Click here to watch the exchange.

 Armed Services Hrg Jan 30

Senator Perdue: “With regard to South America, China has already invested in 56 ports. I’m worried about two things right now directly. In Argentina, the Georgia National Guard is a partner down there. Tell us a little bit about the Chinese People’s Liberation Army managing that space station in Argentina. Secondarily, what does China’s increasing operational tempo mean in the Panama Canal Zone?”

Admiral Faller: “China seeks to take their soft aims and turn them into hard power targets – in space, in cyber, in port access. They signed into the previous Panama administration some 40 agreements for access including IT in Panama. Fortunately for us, the current administration in Panama has changed policy and is recognizing the threat that that could have on their sovereignty. We look up into the Caribbean and in one Caribbean nation, China has built a road across the country. One thousand two hundred acres of access granted for Chinese use. The equipment was brought in under dubious circumstances. They parked it right next to the embassy so we were reminded of that. Now, they get to collect tolls for 50 years on that road. There’s just three quick examples of what we see with Chinese influence. To pivot and look into Venezuela, China, Russia, and Cuba are working alongside each other to block the forces and voices of democracy particularly in cyber.”

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When Senator Perdue was elected, he was the only Fortune 500 CEO in Congress. He is serving his first term in the United States Senate, where he represents Georgia on the Armed Services, Banking, Budget, and Foreign Relations Committees.