MEET CHINA’S “SECRET” SPACE CONTROL LISTENING BASE IN ARGENTINA NOW ALARMING US OFFICIALS (Source A recent New York Times piece has sounded the alarm over what Washington perceives as China’s “expanding reach into Latin America,” related to a space mission control center located in the heart of the Patagonia region of Argentina.   It begins with an eerily beautiful description of an imposing structure, guarded by Chinese military personnel, unexpectedly rising out of Patagonian desert: The giant antenna rises from the desert floor like an apparition, a gleaming metal tower jutting 16 stories above an endless wind-whipped stretch of Patagonia. The 450-ton device, with its hulking dish embracing the open skies, is the centerpiece of a $50 million satellite and space mission control station built by the Chinese military. The station began operating in March, playing a pivotal role in China’s audacious expedition to the far side of the moon — an endeavor that Argentine officials say they are elated to support. For Washington strategists the Chinese military-constructed “deep space research” communications base, defined visually by the massive antenna that juts out of the otherwise small facility in an isolated country area of Neuquen province, represents China’s growing ability to sow deep economic inroads and expanding political influence in Latin America via secretive negotiations. The NYT notes “concerns” over Chinese tech infrastructure being established as part of an extension to China’s global Belt and Road initiative: But the way the base was negotiated — in secret, at a time when Argentina desperately needed investment — and concerns that it could enhance China’s intelligence-gathering capabilities in the Western Hemisphere have set off a debate in Argentina about the risks and benefits of being pulled into China’s orbit.




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