China eyeing military base on Africa’s Atlantic coast, report claims

According to a report in The Wall Street Journal that was based on classified U.S. intelligence, China is seeking its first permanent military presence on the Atlantic Ocean. Specifically, the country is looking at a portion on the coast of the small African nation of Equatorial Guinea.

While officials did not describe China’s plans in extreme detail, they did say China’s presence on the Atlantic coast of Africa would increase the possible threat the country poses to the United States. By positioning themselves on the Atlantic coast, Chinese warships would have a place to rearm and refit just opposite of the East Coast of the U.S.

Last April, Gen. Stephen Townsend, who currently serves as the commander of U.S. Africa Command, told the Senate that China’s “most significant threat” would potentially be “a militarily useful naval facility on the Atlantic coast of Africa.”

He added, “By militarily useful I mean something more than a place that they can make port calls and get gas and groceries. I’m talking about a port where they can rearm with munitions and repair naval vessels.”

President Joe Biden’s principal deputy national security adviser, Jon Finer, made a trip to Equatorial Guinea back in October looking to convince President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo and his son Vice President Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue to reject China’s proposal. 

Tensions between the U.S. and China have risen in recent months over human rights abuses, the COVID-19 pandemic, and concerns about the potential invasion of Taiwan. Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke last week to the “terrible consequences” if China decides to invade Taiwan and forcibly take the island.

“But here again,” he said on Friday, “I hope that China’s leaders think very carefully about this and about not precipitating a crisis that would have, I think, terrible consequences for lots of people, and one that’s in no one’s interest, starting with China.”




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