Classified U.S. intelligence revealed that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) intends to establish its first permanent military base underground on the Atlantic coast of Africa, which would pose a more significant threat to the United States.
China’s presence off the coast of the West African nation of Equatorial Guinea would allow Beijing to rearm with munitions, repair, and refit its warships off the east coast, The Wall Street Journal reported Sunday.
Gen. Stephen Townsend, commander of the U.S. Africa Command, warned the U.S. Senate in April when he declared that “a militarily useful naval facility on the Atlantic coast of Africa” posed the greatest Chinese threat.
Sometime later, the U.S. Army Task Force Southern Europe-Africa commander, Andrew Rohling, also issued a warning, saying that a Chinese naval base in Equatorial Guinea would then give the CCP a maritime presence in the Atlantic.
U.S. intelligence officials believe that the CCP hopes to convince Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, president of Equatorial Guinea, to allow the expansion of an existing port in the city of Bata into a military base.
In an attempt to prevent this and persuade the African president to reject Beijing’s proposal, the Biden administration dispatched Jon Finer, senior deputy national security advisor, in October.
Finer met with the president’s son, 53-year-old Teodoro “Teodorin” Nguema Obiang Mangue, who serves as vice president. Teodorin posted a video of the visit on Instagram on Oct. 19 and thanked him for his visit, the media outlet reported.
“As part of our diplomacy to address maritime-security issues, we have made clear to Equatorial Guinea that certain potential steps involving [Chinese] activity there would raise national-security concerns,” a Biden official said after the visit.
A week later, the African vice president posted via Twitter photos of the meeting with Chinese officials thanking them for supporting his country, the Daily Mail reported.
The Biden administration is warning Equatorial Guinea that it would be unwise to get involved in U.S.-China tensions. Still, its leaders have a history of corruption and enrichment that suggests it will not be difficult for the Chinese regime to sweeten their ears with promises of “power and money.”
According to reports, Obiang has been in power for more than 40 years, and his son is vice president. His son is accused of corruption and enrichment through siphoning off the country’s oil money.
On the other hand, Human Rights Watch and other human rights organizations have denounced the leaders of Equatorial Guinea for the repression suffered by the civil society of the African nation at the hands of its leaders.
China has also strategically taken the ‘Belt and Road’ (BRI) project to Africa and has held talks with Tanzania for the establishment of its first naval base on the east coast to expand its military power in the Horn of Africa, raising U.S. concerns about security threats to the country.