20:48 GMT +323 October 2018
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    The People's Republic of China flag and the U.S. Stars and Stripes fly along Pennsylvania Avenue near the US Capitol during Chinese President Hu Jintao's state visit in Washington, DC, US on January 18, 2011.

    US House Intel Panel to Probe China Military Footprint in Africa

    © REUTERS / Hyungwon Kang
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    2019

    China’s growing military and economic clout in Africa is the cause of serious concern in Washington.

    Members of the House Intelligence Committee are going to investigate “many aspects” of China’s growing worldwide military and economic presence.

    “We believe they are looking at investing in ports and infrastructure around the world, not just for military capabilities but also to control those governments,” the committee’s chairman, Devin Nunes, told Fox News.

    He also mentioned the military base that China recently opened in Djibouti. 

    In February 2016, Beijing said it was launching the construction of the Djibouti facility, which it calls a logistical center. The base was opened on August 1, 2017.

    Even though the Chinese authorities keep mum about the number of people it is going to deploy at the base, media reports put their estimated number at around 10,000.

    Chinese Defense Ministry spokesman Wu Qian earlier said that  the base would mainly be used for patrol missions, humanitarian operations and serve as a refuel and restock site for Chinese vessels, as well as to provide recreational facilities for the sailors engaged in anti-piracy missions in the Gulf of Aden, off the Somali coast.

    READ MORE: Neighbors: China Builds Africa Base Near US Base, Americans Express Concern

    Washington has long been alarmed by China's growing influence in Africa and Latin America, where Beijing is spending billions of dollars in direct investments into long-term economic projects.

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    Congressional probe, base, military clout, economic presence, US Congress, Wu Qian, Devin Nunes, United States
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