With Peru port project, China gains a foothold in America’s backyard

U.S. officials have reportedly raised concerns with Peru that Chinese investment in the port could have national security implications, given Xi’s oft-mentioned ambition of turning China into a “maritime superpower.” The port’s builder says it is for commercial use only.

Miriam Arce, a community leader whose father was a fisherman, has a different concern: that the fishing boats from her childhood will disappear, replaced by freighters amid the intensifying competition between the U.S. and China, the world’s two biggest economies.

“Both countries are in conflict,” said Arce, a 52-year-old artist. “We are in the middle of this conflict. And Chancay is very small.”

A faster route to Asia

NBC News was granted extensive access to the sprawling Chancay Port complex, which is 60% owned by the Chinese state-owned company Cosco, one of the world’s biggest shipping companies, and 40% owned by the Peruvian mining company Volcan. 

During a recent tour, diggers and trucks were removing sandy brown earth while others were building berths for cargo ships. Several hundred workers brought in from China — mainly specialists, engineers and machinery operators — worked side by side with Peruvians, their combined numbers totaling about 2,200, according to Cosco.

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