China is apparently considering the construction of a military post on the western coast of Africa. This would be the country’s first major military foothold on the continent’s western coast.
According to the Wall Street Journal on Sunday, citing anonymous U.S. officials, the Chinese are attempting to create a facility in Equatorial Guinea. This is a move that raised concerns inside the Biden leadership and at the Defense Department.
The Danger of China’s Military Presence
In an interview with the news outlet, a top Biden administration official weighed in.
As a component of their foreign relations to resolve maritime-security issues, the United States made it very clear to Equatorial Guinea that some prospective measures involving [Chinese] operations in the country would enhance national security concerns.
EXCLUSIVE: China wants to put its first Atlantic Ocean military base in Equatorial Guinea, U.S. intelligence shows. Chinese warships rearming and refitting opposite the U.S. East Coast is a five-alarm scenario for the Pentagon and White House. https://t.co/WArA5yJIh1 via @WSJ
— Michael M. Phillips (@MPhillipsWSJ) December 5, 2021
Jon Finer, the senior deputy national security advisor for the United States, traveled to the country in October.
He did so to try and convince President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo and his son and heir presumptive, the incumbent vice president, to oppose China’s projected moves.
In April, Gen. Stephen Townsend, the head of the United States Africa Command, testified before the Senate. He stated the most serious danger from China would be the establishment of a militarily relevant naval port on the African continent’s Atlantic coast.
He went on to say that by militarily valuable, he meant something more than just a site where China can conduct port calls and acquire petrol and groceries, among other things.
It was stated he was referring to a port where China could resupply with ammunition and repair Navy warships. Following an evidently accidental ammo exposition that killed nearly 100 people and destroyed an army base in Equatorial Guinea last March, the United States offered assistance to the country.
This was done in an attempt to persuade the country’s leaders to refrain from providing China with a military base there. Personnel from the Equatorial Guinean military took part in joint naval drills with the United States in the Gulf of Guinea the very same month.
China’s Plan Has Been in Motion Since 2019
The CIA and other intelligence services in the United States have been aware of China’s plans to establish a foothold in the African country since 2019. During the waning days of the Trump administration, a senior government official paid a visit to the nation.
ALERT: Classified American intelligence reports say China is planning to build first permanent military base on the Atlantic Oceanhttps://t.co/vHgcv697dp
— Insider Paper (@TheInsiderPaper) December 6, 2021
According to the Defense Agency’s Military and Security Activities Involving the People’s Republic of China report issued last month, China certainly evaluated a number of African countries for offshore sites, including Angola, Kenya, Tanzania, and Seychelles.
Following the outbreak of the global pandemic, China continued to make progress toward its overall growth in 2020.
As soon as the virus was discovered in Wuhan, China, in late 2019, the Chinese government moved to disassociate itself from any responsibility for the infection’s spread and to leverage its narrative of domestic achievement and international help.