One of the most amazing developments of the past quarter century has been the economic boom in China. For decades that nation has had a GDP growth well above ten percent. China has now become so large in size that it is starting to challenge the U.S. for the status of world superpower.
China already outranks America in many key areas: The world’s fastest train, the largest building by volume, and the city with busiest container port traffic are all in China. The Asian giant can also boast of the largest auto market. General Motors sells more cars in China than it does in its home market—the United States.
What makes the industrialization of China all the more stunning is that it occurred in a nation with 1.35 billion people. There are over 160 cities in China with a population over one million, and most of these cities look like the skyline of New York or Chicago. I’m sure most you have never heard of Chongqing and Chengdu. Both of these cities have populations greater than 7 million.
All these urban centers require a huge amount of energy and raw materials to maintain themselves. Because China is resource poor, each day it must import more than five million barrels of oil. China is the largest consumer of many minerals like aluminum (1/3 of world’s total), iron ore (1/2), copper, zinc, tin and even gold.
Because China’s natural resource needs are so large in scale it has been compelled to create supply chains like no other nation on earth. While America will buy most goods on the open market, China has established binding relationships with its key suppliers. The nation of Tanzania is good example. Chinese companies have invested billions into this African nation’s infrastructure to ensure access to its natural resources. Chinese President Xi Jinping visited Tanzania in March, saying his country would continue to offer financial assistance to Tanzania with, “No political strings attached,” which is obviously not true.
The area that has to be high on China’s resource list is the Middle East. Without Arab oil, China’s economy would grind to a halt. The keen awareness of this fact is the reason why there is heavy diplomatic traffic between Beijing and the capitals of the oil rich states. China’s mastery of diplomacy has already proven itself in a major way. Even though America liberated Iraq from Saddam Hussein, it is Chinese firms that are now pumping oil out of the ground and sending it back home.
The importance of ties to the Middle East has to be a key reason why China has recently said it is seeking to develop an “international highway” that will connect China’s Yunnan province with the eastern Indian city of Kolkata. The foreign ministers of China and India have met four times this year to hammer out the details of this plan.
There has long been a barrier between China and the subcontinent. The Himalayan mountain range provides a natural obstruction, but the political impasse has actually been the great hurdle. The border region has long been a source of territorial disputes. It was just a few months ago that India blamed China for infringing on its territory. The establishment of a major trade agreement would help to diminish these disputes.
The construction of an “international highway” would be a huge boon for Bible prophecy. The book of Revelation predicts and army of 200 million soldiers will someday invade the Middle East. If China starts building a highway to Armageddon, you can be sure the Tribulation hour is very near.
“And the sixth angel sounded, and I heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar which is before God, Saying to the sixth angel which had the trumpet, Loose the four angels which are bound in the great river Euphrates. And the four angels were loosed, which were prepared for an hour, and a day, and a month, and a year, for to slay the third part of men. And the number of the army of the horsemen were two hundred thousand thousand: and I heard the number of them” (Revelation 9:13-16).
“And the sixth angel poured his vial upon the great river Euphrates; and the water thereof was dried up, that the way of the kings of the east might be prepared” (Revelation 16:12).