Though Chinese "Belt-and-Road Initiative" (BRI) investments and related economic activities abroad have been a touchpoint for international studies, this report poses a hypothetical "what if" scenario and seeks to address one facet of the potential implications if Chinese facilities abroad are used for dual-use military/civilian purposes.
The current strategic environment has placed the United States and its allies on a seemingly inexorable path towards confrontation with the People’s Republic of China. Given the close relationship between Chinese corporations and military entities, based on the concept of Military-Civil Fusion, this report addresses the hypothetical implications of the military use of seventeen civilian (BRI related) ports with respect to eight identified critical maritime chokepoints.
To accomplish the goals stated above, an analysis of open source imagery to assess the type of threats that could be hosted at seventeen BRI ports utilizing both military and civilian shipping as transport has been conducted. The implications and extent of these threats have been graphically superimposed over maps of strategic sea routes to visually reinforce the extent of the potential future strategic obstacles. Consequently, it is assessed that Chinese BRI developments could theoretically pose a threat to seven of eight identified critical maritime chokepoints. However, as a caveat to this conclusion, there are a multitude of factors that serve as obstacles to the realization of this hypothetical end-state.