China May Build Military Base in Equatorial Guinea Amid Beijing’s Tensions With Washington
15:30 GMT 06.12.2021 (Updated: 13:26 GMT 06.08.2022)
China currently has just one overseas military base, located in East Africa’s Djibouti near the Gulf of Aden and which has been running since 2017.
Beijing plans to create its “first permanent military presence on the Atlantic Ocean” in a deep-water commercial port in Equatorial Guinea, The Wall Street Journal has revealed.
The newspaper cited unnamed intelligence sources as saying that the blueprint envisages that Chinese warships would be rearmed and refit opposite the US’ East Coast, “a threat” that is “setting off alarm bells” at the White House and the Pentagon.
© Photo : MAXAR TECHNOLOGIESA satellite image taken earlier this year shows the Chinese-built deep-water port at Bata, Equatorial Guinea’s largest mainland city
A satellite image taken earlier this year shows the Chinese-built deep-water port at Bata, Equatorial Guinea’s largest mainland city
© Photo : MAXAR TECHNOLOGIES
The claims come after Jon Finer, President Joe Biden's principal deputy national security adviser, reportedly visited Equatorial Guinea in October in an effort to convince President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo to reject China's proposal pertaining to the port of Bata in the African nation.
25 November 2021, 15:59 GMT
“As part of our diplomacy to address maritime-security issues, we have made clear to Equatorial Guinea that certain potential steps involving [Chinese] activity there would raise national security concerns”, Finer said at the time.
The remarks were preceded by General Stephen Townsend, the commander of US Africa Command, telling the Senate in April that China's “most significant threat” would be “a militarily useful naval facility on the Atlantic coast of Africa”.
“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”, the general underscored.
China’s reported drive to establish a military base in Equatorial Guinea comes amid ongoing Beijing-Washington tensions over a spate of pressing issues.
Relations between the two have deteriorated over the past several years, during which the US initiated a trade war, began to exert pressure on Chinese tech giants including Huawei, and then announced sanctions over alleged human rights violations in Tibet and Xinjiang, as well as Mainland China's increased control over Hong Kong.
16 November 2021, 22:04 GMT
Washington also continued to accuse Beijing of failing to contain the spread of the coronavirus, and has kept tensions high by engaging in regular contact with Taiwan, seen by Beijing as an integral part of China.
The Chinese government has voiced its objection to all of Washington's aforementioned actions, denied all the accusations, and urged the US to join it in restoring productive bilateral relations.