China competes to establish military base on Africa’s Atlantic coast reveals US intelligence

About thousands of kilometers from its routine operational military bases in the Indo-Pacific, the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLAN) Navy intends to establish its first ever permanent military base underground. in the Atlantic Ocean in the central African country of Equatorial Guinea, classified to US intelligence reports have found, describing details of its secret discoveries, the WSJ reported. China is also in talks with Tanzania to establish its first naval base on the much-opposed east coast to expand its military might in the Horn of Africa, raising security concerns. of the United States Navy and the Pentagon.

Chinese overseas military base in the African country, if authorized, will be the second in a $ 590 million facility in Djibouti that gives the Chinese People’s Liberation Army strategic access to the Gulf of Aden and the Suez Canal. The Chinese naval base on the Atlantic coast of Africa “worries me a lot,” General Stephen Townsend, commander-in-chief of US Africa Command (AFRICOM), said in an interview with The Associated Press, adding that the he huge port of the Chinese navy would be able to accommodate submarines or aircraft carriers on the west coast of Africa giving the army of the communist regime an advantage.

Credit: AP

Beijing’s “Debt Trap Diplomacy”, the Efforts of Peacekeeping Missions in Africa – A Way to Strengthen the Military Presence

China has approached several African countries stretching from Mauritania to southern Namibia, with the aim of establishing naval facilities to base warships in the Atlantic and Pacific. It set up the first military base within 10 miles of Camp Lemonnier, the largest US defense base in Africa, and so far was the only strategically located overseas military installation that hosted aircraft carriers.

Djibouti President Ismail Omar Guelleh may have fallen victim to Beijing’s “debt trap diplomacy”, think tanks worry, and Townsend believes the “Chinese base [in Djibouti] “Transforms into a platform to project energy across the continent and its waters”.

But China has not stopped. He was constantly on the lookout for other basic opportunities [around Africa] for a “strategic fulcrum” to conduct anti-piracy operations in the Red Sea, Gulf of Aden and the vital and strategic 18 miles wide at its narrowest point of bottleneck Bab-el- Mandeb or “bearer of tears”, a strait between Yemen in the Arabian Peninsula, and Djibouti and Eritrea in the Horn of Africa. US, French and Japanese military forces have worked to strengthen their presence to protect the strategic route from global oil, petroleum and natural gas shipments after China establishes a naval base in the East African nation. of Djibouti in 2017, what the United States believes is intended to increase the military footprint.

Credit: US Energy Information Administration

“Their first military base abroad, the only one, is in Africa, and they have just enlarged it by adding an important jetty which will be able to even accommodate their aircraft carriers in the future”, warned General Stephen Townsend of ‘AFRICOM in an interview with AP. He then warned, across the continent, they [Chinese] are looking for other basic opportunities.

Most of the Persian Gulf’s oil and natural gas exports that pass through the Suez Canal or the SUMED pipeline pass through both Bab el-Mandeb and the Strait of Hormuz, according to the US Energy Information Administration. These sea lanes are extremely critical to global energy security, and any maritime threat in the Bab el-Mandeb Strait will divert global tanker traffic from two 2-mile-wide canals around the tip of Africa, where the Chinese have now established their first naval base. Djibouti’s geographic location is also crucial for Beijing due to its proximity to key nations in Africa and Asia.

The $ 590 million Doraleh Multipurpose Port is just seven kilometers from Camp Lemonnier, adjacent to the Djibouti International Free Trade Zone, and was established under the pretext of scaling up efforts Chinese peacekeeping, anti-piracy missions and the maintenance of peace and stability. in Africa.

Credit: Twitter / Camp_Lemonnier

China takes Belt and Road (B&R) project route to Africa

While global analysts say China’s military presence in Africa will bolster security and intelligence expertise, it just shows how the Beijing military strategically took the route of its Belt and Road Project ( B&R) as far as Africa during the US Army. presence that descends on the whole continent.

And now, China is looking at the Atlantic Ocean along Africa’s west coast to build a naval facility capable of accommodating both submarines and aircraft carriers. It comes as Biden has pledged to maintain a strong U.S. military presence in the Indo-Pacific to counter Chinese aggression, but the Chinese military is strategically expanding into Africa, South America, and the Middle East. “overtaking the United States in African countries,” said General Townsend of US AFRICOM.

“They are looking for a place where they can rearm and repair warships. It becomes militarily useful in the event of a conflict,” Townsend reportedly explained in the PA interview. “They are far from establishing it in Djibouti. Now they are looking at the Atlantic coast and want to set up such a base there.”

Lt. Gen. Stephen Townsend of the then army speaks with an Iraqi officer during a tour north of Baghdad. Credit: AP

In Djibouti, in the Horn of Africa, the Chinese military presence continues to expand. “They have weapons and ammunition for sure. They have armored fighting vehicles. We believe they will soon be basing helicopters there to potentially include attack helicopters, ”said US General Stephen Townsend.

Last year, Chinese President Xi Jinping’s Communist Party launched a week-long China-Africa Peace and Security Forum with African defense ministers and military leaders to conduct a dialogue on cooperation, peace and security financing in the Horn of Africa. In reality, China may only be expanding its military build-up on a much larger scale, according to Townsend’s position statement to the US House Armed Services Committee. “Port projects, economic efforts, infrastructure and their agreements and contracts will lead to better access in the future. They are hedging their bets and making big bets on Africa,” he further warned. ‘interview.

Image: AP / Maxar Technologies

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