On December 19, 2023, Chinese professor and military expert Yun Hua, who is a faculty member at the PLA's National Defense University, shared a video on his YouTube account in which he said that the Houthi attacks in the Red Sea have "effectively closed the door for the Suez Canal," posing significant challenges for the United States and Israel in managing the war situation. He said that China's COSCO Shipping Holding has emerged as the sole major shipping conglomerate capable of navigating the Red Sea, adding that the "rise of land transportation" will significantly benefit China. He also said that the current developments are a potential catalyst for "weakening the influence of American maritime hegemony and striking a blow to the U.S. hegemonic system."
To view the clip of Xiao Yun Hua, click here or below:
"The National Fortune [Of China] Has Arrived, And Nothing Can Stop It"
Xiao Yun Hua: "The national fortune has arrived, and nothing can stop it. The storm set off by the Houthis has even benefitted China. Hello everyone, I am Xiao Yunhua. In recent days, as we mentioned in our programs, the Houthi militants in Yemen have expanded their range of attacks on ships belonging to Israel and Western allies in the Red Sea, the Bab el-Mandeb Strait and the Gulf of Aden. This has effectively closed the door for the Suez Canal, the busiest global shipping route to the American and Western bloc.
"Now, as the storm set off by the Houthis grows stronger, the United States can no longer sit idle. According to Reuters, U.S. Defense Secretary Austin announced during his visit to Bahrain that the U.S. would step in to calm the situation, prevent it from worsening, and establish a coalition force to protect the safety of the waterways, ensuring that transiting vessels are safe from drone and missile attacks. According to Austin, this coalition includes countries such as the United Kingdom, Bahrain, Canada, Franc, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Seychelles, and Spain, in addition to the United States itself, making it a coalition of ten countries in total.
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"However, the Houthi militants in Yemen haven't reacted much to the idea of the U.S. forming a coalition; they simply stated that the Houthis can confront any alliance the United States tries to create in the Red Sea.
"Why are we discussing this? Because what's really interesting is that the U.S. announced this coalition unilaterally, and other participating countries have not given a clear response. Whether they're coming or not is still unknown. Just a few days ago, a French warship was chased all the way by a Houthi dinghy. Austin's statement seems more like a political move to show that the U.S. is not isolated in the Middle East. And, importantly, there has been no reaction from the other major Middle Eastern powers, and Bahrain is more politically bound and reluctant to oppose the United States. Without local support, this coalition force of ten countries is unlikely to be very substantial, as supply lines would become a major issue.
"Given the backdrop of Europe being generally dragged down by the Russia-Ukraine conflict, it's hard to say whether this coalition will be successful, especially since the Houthi militants can choose to engage in naval warfare when it suits them and retreat to the mountains when they can't win, launching missiles when you're not paying attention. How will this coalition force of ten countries handle that? Will they have a permanent presence in the Red Sea? Who will foot the bill? If they choose to conduct a landing operation to encircle and suppress, won' it lead to another quagmire in the Middle East? So the U.S. initiative in this matter is likely to start with a lot of enthusiasm but may eventually fizzle out.
"China's COSCO Shipping Holding Has Become The Only Major Shipping Giant Able To Navigate The Red Sea"; The Necessary Shift To Land Transportation Will Weaken U.S. Maritime Hegemony
"After discussing the U.S. response, let's talk about the impact on China. As I mentioned a few days ago, the Houthis expanding their attack range in the Red Sea has undoubtedly been beneficial to China. From the latest developments, five global international shipping companies – Denmark's Maersk, Switzerland's Mediterranean Shipping Company, France's CMA CGM, Germany's Hapag-Lloyd – have successively announced the suspension of their services in the Red Sea, opting to detour around Africa. This has resulted in direct increases in time and transportation costs. China's COSCO Shipping Holding has become the only major shipping giant able to navigate the Red Sea.
"Setting aside the strategic implications, purely in terms of cost and time, the advantages and disadvantages of the situation are clear. Moreover, what's even more critical, as we mentioned earlier, the extended routes of global maritime shipping and increased transportation costs are bound to lead to the rise of land transportation. The greatest political impact of land transportation lies in weakening the influence of maritime hegemony and thereby striking a blow to the U.S. hegemonic system.
"In this storm ignited by the Middle East, China has gained more benefits."