Tuesday, March 03, 2015

China Buys Greece?

As I speculated earlier, China has reasons for wanting port rights in a Greece desperate for cash. And China has the inside track on getting those port facilities in Greece:

While the world watches the ongoing debt negotiations between Greece and its international creditors mainly for their impact on the Greek and eurozone economies, the talks have already put Beijing’s plans for a strategic transport system meant to further integrate Europe and the Mediterranean with the Chinese market back on track. The new leftist government of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras in Athens had initially announced plans to halt the privatization of Greece’s largest seaport, Piraeus, alarming investors from the Chinese shipping giant Cosco, which is keen to take a majority share in the Greek facility. But as part of the four-month bailout extension reached earlier this week between Greece and the so-called troika made up of the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund, Greece has reversed course and will go ahead with previously agreed-upon privatizations, including Piraeus.

Cosco is counting on turning the port into a key junction of its proposed “One Belt and One Road” transport system, a mammoth project in which Beijing aims to build both an overland corridor and a maritime route connecting eastern China to Western Europe.

"Privatization" in this case means essentially selling the port to China.

And thus the "treaty port" humiliations are avenged.

While Piraeus will not be a military base, it will be under Chinese control and their financial leverage over Greece will allow China to pressure Greece to allow Chinese warships to use the facilities if there is a Mediterranean contingency (as there was in Libya in 2011) that might require Chinese naval deployments.

And China can't get a formal base anyway, unless Greece leaves NATO since NATO rules prohibit such a thing.

But China "gets" Greece while their junior partner Russia had to settle for Cyprus.