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Latest China threats: Quest for Atlantic Ocean bases, containerized missiles

Port of Bata in Equatorial Guinea, which the U.S. is trying prevent from becoming a Chinese military base on the Atlantic Ocean.
FPI / December 12, 2021


By Richard Fisher

The Biden Administration was concerned enough about China’s potential to establish an Atlantic Ocean military base/port in Equatorial Guinea that it dispatched Principal Deputy National Security Advisor Jon Finer to the African nation.

“Classified” intelligence that China is seeking, perhaps in the port of Bata, its “first permanent military presence on the Atlantic Ocean” that raises “the prospect that Chinese warships would be able to rearm and refit opposite the East Coast of the U.S. [United States],” according to a Dec. 5 report in the Wall Street Journal.

U.S. intelligence agencies apparently have been monitoring Chinese interest in having a military base in the Equatorial Guinea since 2019.

In its final days the Trump Administration also delivered a message of concern, but the government of President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo did not responded positively.

The Biden Administration apparently delivered a more nuanced message that Equatorial Guinea could continue its large economic relationship with China but that the U.S. requested that it not come to include a military basing relationship.

This issue arises in the wake of Chinese Communist Party leader Xi Jinping’s video address to the Nov. 29-30 8th Ministerial Conference of the China-Africa Cooperation Forum held in Senegal.

China has been Africa’s largest trading partner since 2009, has invested in about 100 port projects in Africa and since 2018 has included all African states save one in its China-Africa Defense Forum, making China the most dominant foreign influence in Africa.

China wants Africa to align with its anti-democratic values.

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