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U.S. SouthCom Chief in Argentina Bashes China, Cultivates New ‘Strategic Partnership’

April 4, 2024 (EIRNS)—The U.S. Southern Command chief, Gen. Laura Richardson, visited Argentina over April 2-4 to ensure that the Milei government is securely inserted into the Anglo-American establishment’s geopolitical and defense structures and can be counted on to act accordingly. Thus, one of her targets was Argentina’s relationship with China. Roping Argentina’s armed forces and security agencies into the Southern Command’s regional agenda of fighting “Islamic fundamentalism” and drug trafficking, and strengthening U.S. military coordination with British/NATO forces stationed on the Malvinas Islands (which the British call the Falklands) are also on Richardson’s agenda. She came prepared to offer military equipment and $625 million for “security cooperation.”

These matters came up during her full day of meetings yesterday with Chief of Staff Nicolas Posse, Defense Minister Luis Petri, the head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Brig. Xavier Isaac, and Foreign Minister Diana Mondino. Milei did not meet with her. Richardson reportedly thanked them for “cooling off” the country’s comprehensive strategic relationship with China, the daily Clarín reported.. She was accompanied in her meetings with the ubiquitous U.S. Ambassador Marc Stanley, who publicly alleged, just before Richardson’s arrival, that China had a “secret” military presence at its deep-space station in the Patagonian province of Neuquén and asked why the Argentines allowed this.

The Neuquén space station, which is part of China’s lunar program, has been an obsession of Richardson’s for a couple of years, and she brought it up again during her visit. Just before her arrival, the Milei government announced it is considering “inspecting” the space station to see if there have been any violations of its 50-year contract. Richardson’s trip to the city of Ushuaia in the southernmost province of Tierra del Fuego also focused on Chinese activity in the region, harping on “illegal fishing” and “stealing of natural resources.” She met with Naval officials at the Ushuaia Navy base to get briefed on that institution’s plans to build an Antarctic Logistics Pole, of great interest to the Southern Command, and to also learn what is being done to “safeguard maritime routes”—presumably from the Chinese.

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