Beijing intends to build its first-ever naval outpost on the Atlantic Ocean, which would allow China to position its warships opposite the West Coast of the US, a media report says.
Beijing wants to set up a military base in Equatorial Guinea, a western African country 28,000 square kilometers (1,0810 square miles) in size and with a population of 1.4 million, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) said, quoting unnamed US officials with knowledge of classified intelligence reports.
China is likely considering building a base in Bata, a city that already has a Chinese-built deep-water commercial port, the report said. The WSJ added that a naval station on the Atlantic could be used to rearm and refit Chinese warships, undoubtedly rattling Washington.
The paper quoted a senior White House official as saying that the US had warned Equatorial Guinea last year that “certain potential steps involving [Chinese] activity there would raise national security concerns.”
China and Equatorial Guinea have not commented on the matter, but Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi held talks with his Equatorial Guinean counterpart Simeon Oyono Esono Angue in Dakar, Senegal late last month.
Global Times, a Chinese state-run newspaper, argued on Monday that it would be “inconceivable” for Beijing to engage in “a strategic great-power game” in the Atlantic, but said China has made big investments in Africa and planned to fight piracy in the region.
“If China were to establish a naval supply station for this end, it would be different from what the US has imagined. It will benefit the region without any harm,” Global Times wrote in an editorial piece.