(CNN Spanish) — The United States issued some warnings about China to Latin American and especially South American countries during the start of the South American Defense Conference “SOUTH DEC 2022” held for the first time in Quito with the presence of defense chiefs from 11 countries in the region.
The head of the United States Southern Command, General Laura Richardson, led the day on Wednesday when she exposed the threats and damage that the United States considers that China is generating in the region in terms of the environment, cybersecurity and political destabilization.
“The organizations linked to China have bases in South America that can use unrestricted facilities for military use and to access sensitive information of South American and US citizens. They are also trying to manipulate populations through disinformation campaigns and malicious cyber activities and continue to support authoritarian regimes in Venezuela, Cuba and Nicaragua,” General Richardson said during her presentation.
Richardson added that China is promoting irregular practices that harm and cause damage to the environment through construction projects and fishing activity.
“Independent studies have concluded that many of the mega-projects financed by China are causing erosion in rivers, polluting water, destroying fertile land and destabilizing the ecosystems of indigenous groups and local citizens. China is the biggest proponent of illegal, irregular and unreported fishing in this region and around the world. Every year 350 Chinese vessels operate near the Galapagos in the exclusive zones within the Americas, subsidizing ships that destroy fish and also dispose of garbage in the seas, “said Richardson.
CNN en Español contacted the Chinese embassy in Ecuador for comments and reactions on the matter. The embassy reported that for the moment no statement will be made in this regard but that it will be analyzed.
Finally, the head of the Southern Command, Laura Richardson, insisted that in order to combat transnational crime and drug trafficking, it is necessary to work in coordination between the countries of the region as if it were a “soccer team” where each one plays in a certain position. .
“Transnational criminal organizations destabilize the scenario we share, poison our people with drugs and expand the tentacles of violence and corruption around the region,” said commander of the US Southern Command.
The South American Conference on Defense that began this Tuesday in Quito will conclude on September 15 and will address issues such as the fight against drug trafficking, illicit activities that affect the environment such as illegal mining, illegal fishing, deforestation, and transnational criminal organizations related to those crimes and cybersecurity.
In addition to the defense ministers of 11 countries in the region, European and Canadian observers, representatives of the Inter-American Defense Board and the Perry Center for Hemispheric Defense Studies also participate in this Defense Conference.