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China’s Overseas Military Bases: Should We Be Worried?

Congressional leaders are expressing concern about China’s creating of a military base in Djibouti, African as part of a broad pattern to expand military, economic and political influence on the African continent.

China just built its first overseas military base—in Djibouti, right on one of the world’s most important maritime routes. I saw it firsthand: China is trying to take control of more than forty ports in sub-Saharan Africa,” U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said June 25 on the Senate floor.

According to US senior leaders and independent think-tank assessments, China’s fast-expanding military presence is designed to fortify substantial political and economic influence. This phenomenon, fast on the rise, is already undermining the US presence and greatly influencing political institutions and strategy across a wide array of US-allied African nations, senior officials say.

“Djibouti is a key, strategic United States partner in the region and is host to Camp Lemonnier, the sole enduring presence for the United State military in Africa since 2003. Djibouti remains committed to ensuring the pursuit of our shared interests in the region,” a State Dept. official told TNI in 2018.

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