Wed. May 25th, 2022

A plan of China building a military base in West Africa raises alarm among U.S. officials, reports say.

Beijing is lobbying the government of Equatorial Guinea to build a “permanent military presence” in the small country, reports Wall Street Journal.

If it goes ahead, the installation will give China its first naval base in the Atlantic.

The Chinese military is seeking to build a naval base in West Africa, reports say. (Chinese Ministry of Defense)

China has already built a commercial deep-water facility in the port city of Bata in Equatorial Guinea.

Reports of a potential Chinese naval base in West Africa have sparked concern in Washington.

It would enable Chinese warships to have a base off the east coast of the United States in a safe harbor where they can arm themselves again and rebuild.

And the push from China triggered a flurry of diplomatic lobbying from the Biden administration.

U.S. Deputy National Security Adviser Jon Finer visited Equatorial Guinea in October on a mission to persuade his government to reject the Chinese plan for a military base.

Currently, the Chinese navy has only one base outside China, in Djibouti on the Horn of Africa.

U.S. General Stephen Townsend warned earlier this year that China wants to build a naval port in West Africa where it can rearm warships. (AP)

Earlier this year, a top US general warned that Beijing was seeking to establish a large naval port capable of housing submarines or aircraft carriers on the west coast of Africa.

General Stephen Townsend, the top US commander in Africa, said China had approached countries stretching from Mauritania to southern Namibia with the aim of establishing a naval facility.

“They are a long way from establishing it in Djibouti. Now they are looking to the Atlantic coast and want to have such a base there.”

China has launched a major expansion of its People’s Liberation Army Navy.

It plans to expand the fleet from its current 355 ships and submarines to a force of 460 ships within nine years.

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