US intelligence claims China intends to build a warship base in the Atlantic Ocean in Equatorial Guinea. US intelligence officials believe that Beijing is negotiating with an African country to build a military port in the city of Bata. The prospect of the Chinese acquiring a military base overlooking the Atlantic and the United States deeply worried Washington. In the PRC, however, these data are not confirmed.
According to a US intelligence report, China is allegedly seeking permission from Equatorial Guinea to build a military base off its coast – a move that will give Beijing a foothold in the Atlantic and deeply worried Washington.
According to the Daily Mail , US intelligence officials believe that Xi Jinping hopes to convince the President of the West African state, Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, to allow the expansion of the existing port in the city of Bata, Equatorial Guinea, and its transformation into a military base.
If China turns the port of Bata into a military base, it will allow Beijing to repair and rearm its warships and other naval equipment in the same waters as the US East Coast.
“As part of our diplomacy to address maritime security issues, we have made it clear to Equatorial Guinea that certain potential moves related to [Chinese] activities there could raise national security concerns,” The Wall Street said Sunday Journal is a senior official in the Biden administration.
US officials previously described the Chinese military base in Atlantic waters as a nightmare scenario for the United States amid tensions between the two countries over Taiwan and the origins of COVID.
China has a military base in Djibouti, East Africa, opened in 2017. It is located on the other side of the African continent and overlooks the waters of the Gulf of Aden.
In 2009, China upgraded a trading port in Equatorial Guinea in the city of Bata, the largest city on the mainland. The country’s capital, Malabo, is located on an island an hour’s flight from the mainland.
In October, Joe Biden’s deputy national security adviser, Jonathan Feiner, was sent to Equatorial Guinea to speak with the African president about the matter. According to the Daily Mail, the 79-year-old president, the oldest African leader who has ruled the country for 42 years, sent his son and heir apparent to meet with Finer.
Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mange, a 53-year-old vice president and world-renowned representative of the regime, posted a video on Instagram where he meets Feiner on October 19 and thanks him for the visit. A week later, he tweeted pictures of him meeting the Chinese delegation and thanked them for supporting his country. He confirmed that a high-level delegation from Equatorial Guinea will travel to Senegal later this month to attend the China-Africa Forum. The meeting is likely to be followed closely in Washington.
In April, General Stephen Townsend, commander of the US African Command, declared in the Senate that “the most significant threat” from China would be “a naval facility on the Atlantic coast of Africa.” He added: “I’m talking about a port where ships can be re-equipped with ammunition and repaired.”
Two months later, Major General Andrew Rowling, commander of the US Army’s South European Task Force in Africa, said the US was concerned that the Chinese would establish a naval base in Equatorial Guinea, which would then provide them with a naval presence in the Atlantic Ocean.
The Biden administration tells Equatorial Guinea that it would be unwise to intervene in tensions between the US and China, according to The Wall Street Journal.
In a report to Congress this year, the Pentagon said China “probably considered” African bases in Kenya, Seychelles, Tanzania and Angola. “China is not just building a military base like the United States,” said Paul Nantula, a research fellow at the Pentagon-funded African Center for Strategic Studies. “The Chinese model is very, very different. It combines civilian elements as well as security elements. “
Meanwhile, the Chinese newspaper Global Times denies the information of the American intelligence services about Beijing’s plans to establish a base in Equatorial Guinea. “The announcement of China’s plan to establish its first permanent military base in the Atlantic Ocean is untrue and is the latest US move to inflate the ‘Chinese threat’,” Chinese military experts said.
It is not uncommon to see the US “disclosing information” about China’s building a military base overseas and fanning the “Chinese threat,” according to the Global Times. Previous reports citing US intelligence have alleged that China has built or intended to build military bases in Sri Lanka, the border regions of Afghanistan and Tajikistan, Argentina and Abu Dhabi.
But the fact is that the PRC has only one overseas support base, which is located in Djibouti and is also China’s first overseas base, according to the Global Times. And on November 26, 2015, the Chinese Ministry of National Defense announced negotiations with Djibouti on the construction of an auxiliary facility. This means that if Beijing is going to build its second overseas base, it will publish information in advance and openly, analysts say.
An anonymous military expert told the Global Times that the Wall Street Journal article was untrue. But even if China decides to build an overseas support base, it will be incomparable to the United States, which owns almost 800 military bases in more than 80 countries. According to the expert, for China, the creation of a support base somewhere for reasons of humanitarian aid is normal. The Djibouti base has played a role in humanitarian relief in places like the Gulf of Aden and waters off the coast of Somalia, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. Since December 2008, China has dispatched naval escort fleets to the Gulf of Aden and the waters off Somalia, according to media reports, completing more than 1,500 escort missions.