China eyes military base on Atlantic coast of Africa: report
China is seeking to establish its first permanent military presence on the Atlantic Ocean, on the coast of the small African nation of Equatorial Guinea, according to a Wall Street Journal report based on US intelligence.
While officials did not describe China’s plans in detail, they said China’s presence on Africa’s Atlantic coast would heighten the possible threat to the United States because it would give ships Chinese war a place to rearm and refit across from the East Coast, the Journal reported.
General Stephen Townsend, who serves as commander of US Africa Command, told the Senate in April that China’s “most significant threat” would be “a militarily useful naval installation on the Atlantic coast of Africa”.
“By militarily useful, I mean something more than a place where they can stop over and get gas and groceries. I’m talking about a port where they can rearm with ammunition and repair warships,” Townsend added.
Jon Finer, President Biden’s senior deputy national security adviser, visited Equatorial Guinea in October in an effort to convince President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo and his son Vice President Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue to reject the proposed China, the newspaper reported.
“As part of our diplomacy to address maritime security issues, we have made it clear to Equatorial Guinea that certain potential measures involving [Chinese] activity there would raise national security concerns,” a senior Biden administration official said, according to the Journal.
Obiang is the world’s longest serving president, having ruled for more than 40 years. Human Rights Watch and other groups complained of the “relentless repression” of civil society during his rule, as well as “the staggering corruption that siphoned off the country’s oil wealth”.
In recent months, tensions between China and the United States have increased over human rights concerns, the COVID-19 pandemic and concerns over Taiwan.
Just last week, Secretary of State Antoine Blinken warned of “terrible consequences” if China were to invade Taiwan and take the island by force.
“But then again, I hope that the Chinese leadership will think very carefully about this and not precipitate a crisis which I think would have terrible consequences for a lot of people, and which is in no one’s interest, starting with China,” Blinken said. Friday.