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Africa, China wants to build a maxi naval base in Equatorial Guinea

The Wall Street Journal raises the General Townsend, head of AFRICOM, warning: China wants to build a maxi naval base in Equatorial Guinea, presumably in Bata

China wants to build a large permanent naval base in the Atlantic Ocean, on the coast of Equatorial Guinea (in Bata). The warning has been raised by the Wall Street Journal, which obtained confidential information from US intelligence. The issue had already been addressed in April 2021 by General Stephen J. Townsend, head of AFRICOM, the US military command for operations in Africa, in a hearing in the Senate Armed Forces Committee. “We know that the Chinese want a network of bases around the world”, he stressed, citing the Atlantic coast of Africa as a concern. Beijin built its first base on the east coast in Doraleh (Djibouti) in 2017, near the American base of Camp Lemonnier. Since then, he has worked to expand his presence in the country. Over the past two years, it has completed a dock that will allow larger ships, including aircraft carriers and submarines, to dock there.

General Townsend in April 2021: Beijing aims to create a real naval base where it can rearm with munitions and repair military ships

According to the US military, China is aiming to create a real naval base. A structure that is “something more than a place to stop over and get gas and food. I’m talking about a port where they can rearm with munitions and repair naval vessels,” Townsend denounced adding that the Chinese “are working aggressively to obtain it”. To expand their presence in the African region, they have long since started a policy of aid and investment across the continent. Suffice it to say that the Asian nation in the last ten years has allocated 60 billion dollars in infrastructure and development in Africa, opening at the same time an impressive number of embassies. These, in fact, totaled 52, three more than the United States. In addition, the sale of arms to local governments has grown alarmingly, driven by very advantageous conditions and no constraints.

The United States is concerned, but at the moment China’s weight in the African country appears to be greater

To avert the risk of the maxi Chinese naval base in Equatorial Guinea, US President Joe Biden sent his Principal Deputy National Security Adviser Jon Finer to the African country in October. This had met with President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo and his son, as well as his deputy, Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue (Teodorin) with some proposals not to grant Beijing permission to build the structure. The moral suasion, however, does not seem to have had any effect so far. In fact, China appears to have better arrows in its bow. On the other hand, it aims at two objectives with the new port: on the one hand, to create a military force to escort its commercial ships passing through the quadrant. On the other hand, obtaining “rearm and refit” capabilities in a strategic area where it was completely unguarded.

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