The US is in a battle to control China and the emerging space in Central Asia. So things happening in Yemen, Afghanistan, Mynamar, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and a host of other countries are all about controlling energy sources , and energy transport corridors, with the ability to control China as a key objective of this strategy.
I have included below some background from Wikepdia what is called the string of pearls strategy employeed by China.
Information below taken from Wikepdia
The String of Pearls refers to the Chinese sea lines of communication which extend from Hong Kong to Port Sudan. The sea lines run through the strategic choke points Strait of Mandab, Strait of Malacca, Strait of Hormuz and Strait of Lombok as well as other strategic naval interest such as Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Maldives and Somalia. The term was used in an internal United States Department of Defense report titled “Energy Futures in Asia”.
“ “The “String of Pearls” describes the manifestation of China’s rising geopolitical influence through efforts to increase access to ports and airfields, develop special diplomatic relationships, and modernize military forces that extend from the South China Sea through the Strait of Malacca, across the Indian Ocean, and on to the Persian Gulf.” ”
Chinese President Hu Jintao has stated that the goal of the PRC’s naval strategy is a “harmonious ocean” and “China would never seek hegemony, nor would it turn to military expansion or arms races with other nations”. Some Indians fear that the string of pearls may put India at a military disadvantage.
* 1 Energy security
* 2 Military facilities
o 2.1 Central asian conflict
o 2.2 Indian Ocean
* 3 References
The sea lines of communication from Hong Kong to Port Sudan have become a source of conflict with respect to China’s future energy security. China is the world’s second largest oil consumer and the third largest oil importer. China imports 15% of its oil from West Africa, is the largest consumer of Sudanese oil, and has signed long term contracts to develop Iranian oil fields.
With a wave of pirate attacks off the coast of Somalia in late 2008, the ongoing war in Darfur and the continued oppression by the Robert Mugabe regime in Zimbabwe, Chinese foreign policy has now shifted toward a more direct approach to dealing with such hostilities.
Central asian conflict
In what has been dubbed the new great game, the United States, United Kingdom and other NATO countries, Russia and China have begun vying for control of the lucrative oil and gas fields of Central Asia. The rugged inaccessible terrain of Central Asia and the presence of terrorist groups such as Al-Qaeda present obstacles to the transportation of oil and natural gas by pipeline. After the events of 9/11 the region has seen an increase in the number of United States military personnel especially in Afghanistan, and the recent invasion of Georgia by Russia has placed the Baku–Tbilisi–Ceyhan pipeline in jeopardy.
In order to hedge against the growing militarization of Central Asia China has begun construction on a new massive deep-water port in Gwadar, Pakistan which is expected to help China gain a strategic foothold for naval operations in the Indian Ocean and Persian Gulf. The port will also act as the down stream hub for pipelines linking to Central Asian natural gas fields through Afghanistan.
The Chinese are expected to complete construction on the new Kazakhstan-China oil pipeline by October 2009. When fully complete the pipeline will run from the Chinese-Kazakh border to the North Caspian Sea. This final extension will allow the pipeline to be filled with oil from the giant Tengiz oil field.
Ports in Gwadar, Pakistan; Chittagong, Bangladesh; Sittwe, Burma; Lamu, Kenya; and Hambantota, Sri Lanka.
Dean Cheng of the Heritage Foundation has said that the United States will need to partner with India to counter China’s influence in the Indian Ocean.