U.S. Army Gen. Townsend warns China desires ‘network of bases around the globe’

FPI / May 9, 2021


By Richard Fisher

China’s power projection ambitions include “a network of bases around the globe…[including] the Atlantic coast of Africa,” said United States Army Gen. Stephen Townsend, Commander, United States Africa Command (AFRICOM).

A May 2020 image of China’s base in Djibouti, showing a new pier that can accommodate aircraft carriers. / Twitter

The warning was given before the Senate Armed Services Committee on April 22.

Responding to a question from Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC) General Townsend stated:

“So we know that the Chinese desire a network of bases around the globe. How that plays out in Africa is first with their base Doral (ph) in Djibouti. They have been working a number of options to get a base elsewhere in Africa; Tanzania primarily on the east coast, the Indian Ocean. And then they’ve placed a number of bets down along the Atlantic coast. My concern is the greatest along the Atlantic coast of Africa…

“This is probably — this is the most significant threat, I think, from China would be to gain a militarily useful naval facility on the Atlantic coast of Africa. And by militarily useful I mean something more than a place that they can make port calls and get gas and groceries. I’m talking about a port where they can rearm with munitions and repair naval vessels.”

China’s African base-building has started in Djibouti, where since 2015 it has been building a naval and ground force facility in what is called Doraleh Base.

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